Chester high school head ready for challenge ahead of new year

HAVING taken charge during the pandemic, Queen’s Park High School headteacher Tom Kearns is looking forward to a year without Covid restrictions, but knows that there will be new challenges ahead.

The rising costs on heating and electricity has created new issues for schools across the country to reckon with, but the headteacher says that the focus must remain on ensuring that children receive the best and most well-rounded education possible, despite the budget constraints.

Mr Kearns said: “We are a school that is under strain financially, however, the children’s education fundamentally comes first and we have duty to ensure that they receive the very best education that we can provide.”

With some schools reportedly discussing the possibility of a three-day week to manage costs, Mr Kearns says that this is not a realistic option.

Chester and District Standard: Queen's Park High School headteacher Tom Kearns is ready for the new year but acknowledges the challenge ahead.Queen’s Park High School headteacher Tom Kearns is ready for the new year but acknowledges the challenge ahead.

“A three-day week won’t provide that quality education so it will never be on the cards. We will find other ways through the crisis because the children’s education, welfare and happiness is what matters. Yes, it’s a challenge and yes, it’s difficult but we will find a way through, because we have to.”

The current climate also means that many households may be struggling to deal with the added costs which come with each new school year.

“We know our families really well and we are mindful of the challenges that our young people will be facing at the moment.

“We have looked at our uniform costs to ensure they’re accessible and have put information out to say ‘if you need support, let us know’ and we will work with them to provide the children with what they need to be successful at the school.

“As we move into the winter, it important to keep those close links and make sure our families know they can turn to us as a community school for help and support.”

With an impressive set of GCSE and A Level results acquired in the summer, the school is looking to continue its success, however the headteacher says that a rounded approach is what will prepare students for the next stage of their development, not solely academic achievement.

Chester and District Standard: A well rounded education is central to the school's ethos.A well rounded education is central to the school’s ethos.

“We weren’t able to safely do a lot of the extra-curricular school productions [during the pandemic] so being able to start the year saying to the children that we can commit to a full enrichment package is important, alongside lessons.

“We all remember our days at school from the trips and the relationship-building opportunities with the staff, as much as, if not more than what we did in a single lesson. It’s good to know that that calendar of events is going to happen.”

“Ultimately, the measure of success is improved outcomes in terms of GCSE and A Level but also improved satisfaction rates in our young people. We have a lot of student voice activities, telling us how they feel and what they would like to be improved in the school. The test for this year will be that kids are enjoying education.”

Chester and District Standard | Education