Thistley Hough Academy welcomes two new Vice Principals - Thistley Hough Academy

Thistley Hough Academy welcomes the appointment of two Vice Principals to the senior leadership team.

Both are familiar faces at Thistley Hough Academy, as Mr Ian Brailsford moves from the role of Assistant Principal to Vice Principal in charge of students and pastoral care, while for Vice Principal Alexander Laney it marks a return to teaching in Stoke-on-Trent having originally trained at Thistley Hough Academy.

Ian originally joined Thistley Hough Academy in 2011 and has been integral to the new structure which involved moving from heads of house to heads of year. These heads of year will remain with a particular year group throughout their time at the Academy.

He said: “Although it’s a new position for me my goal remains the same, which is to make sure our students are getting the best possible educational provision in order to open doors and help them succeed in their future.

“Moving into this role allows me to have more of a strategic overview so I can help lead the direction of the Academy, however both Alexander and I are still very much available for parents and students.

“In terms of pastoral changes, we have returned to operating with five non-teaching heads of year, so every student has a direct pastoral link throughout their entire time at Thistley Hough Academy who is always available throughout the day.

“They are a constant point of contact which will also help to make the transition from primary to secondary school far easier, where they have been used to having one member of staff as contact to suddenly having 14 different teaching staff.

“It means we can have a far stronger relationship with our students and their parents as they will have a constant point of contact and building these relationships is key to achieving better outcomes.

“As part of that process we will also opening more channels for contact between the Academy and parents, and there will be more features online so parents can track the progress of their child.”

Originally from Stoke-on-Trent, Alexander was keen to return to teaching in Staffordshire to make a difference in his local community.

He said: “I trained as a teacher at Thistley Hough Academy, so when I saw this position I jumped at the chance to come back to Stoke-on-Trent as it was really important to me to return and give something back to the community.

“The Academy is a very different place to the school that I trained at 10 years ago and I am really excited to be part of the journey that the Academy is on.

“One of the main factors pulling me back to work in Stoke-on-Trent is that there is a desperate need to raise aspirations of students across the city. This shift will take time, as it’s both a cultural, and a generational shift in attitudes. However, in order for the school to succeed, it’s a challenge we must win.

“This role means I will be evaluating the quality of education we offer – what is being taught and how it is being taught – as if these are right then everything becomes easier. Education isn’t just about passing exams, it’s about going deeper than that, enabling our students to master a subject and fall in love with the joy of learning.

“Achieving an Ofsted rating of Outstanding isn’t the goal for me, as while the validation of external bodies is nice, I measure success in a different way. When our students understand that in coming to our academy, and working hard, they will be successful in securing a future that affords them real opportunities, and when our past students are coming back from University and apprenticeships to change the face of Stoke-on-Trent for the better, then we can say we have succeeded.”

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