Mrs Eleanor Holding, the new Head of Senior School at Akeley Wood School has now been with us for a week and a half. We sat down with her for a chat about her first few days at the school.

What are you first impressions of the school?

I’ve really enjoyed my first week and a half settling int this new role and I’ve been delighted to find that staff, students and parents have all been warm, friendly and very welcoming.

It’s very clear to me also that the culture here at the school is very much one that believes in the development of the whole child. As well as the importance of academic achievement and exam results, there is a real emphasis on ensuring the physical, mental and emotional health, wellbeing and development of young people to allow them to leave here as successful adults.

Please tell us about your experience in education.

Previous to this role I’ve worked in four non-selective schools in Buckinghamshire, and have 15 years’ experience on senior leadership teams. I’ve been fortunate to be responsible for all areas of school leadership from teaching and learning, the curriculum, pastoral and safeguarding and staff development.

My teaching subject is religious studies. I find real value in the subject as I’m passionate about the strength of us living in a world with other communities, beliefs and values. The Akeley Wood Core Value of Respect ties very much into this ideology.

What jobs are on your mind this week?

I’m working very closely with Nikki Lambros, our interim Executive Head, to develop our school development plan to build upon the good curricular and pastoral work already going on at Akeley. We will be working in collaboration with a number of education specialists at the forefront of their field to support our staff and student body in the classroom. Our aim to is support teaching at the school to enable the stretch and challenge of every student here.

Looking forward I’d like communications between the school and its key stakeholders to be more frequent, open and accessible. I’ll be writing a weekly blog to let parents, staff and students up to date of important school developments have started a weekly parent drop-in session. In time we are putting together a group to allow the parent body the chance to consult with us on some school policy.

Anything else?

I aim to be collaborative in my leadership style, and to develop a culture of consultation between staff, students and parents wherever possible. I believe this is how a community is built and shaped with respect and buy-in. Behind every decision should be an understanding of the reason behind it, and I think this ties in perfectly with our school values.

And you can watch a short film of Mrs Holding in conversation with senior students Dusan and Lucy below.