WestEndExtra

The independent London newspaper

New headteacher aims to break ‘cycle of poverty’

‘I see children as scholars’, says the man set to take the reins at academy school

30 July, 2019 — By Helen Chapman

Nick Soar: ‘We want pupils to feel excited about the school’

A HEADTEACHER set to take over the reins of an academy school in special measures says he wants to use education to help break a “cycle of poverty”.

Nick Soar is starting at Harris Academy St John’s Wood in September having been an “executive principal” at the Harris Academy South Norwood, and at a “federation” of schools in Tower Hamlets.

He said: “I grew up in Northern Ireland. My father was a factory worker and I come from a working-class background.

“It is one of the reasons I went into education, to inspire children to be the best they can. I see children as scholars.

“The focus is to get pupils not just into university but onto the best apprenticeships. That is something that Harris Schools try and do everywhere. We are looking to help end the cycle of poverty.”

Formerly Quintin Kynaston, the Harris Academy St John’s Wood, Marlborough Hill, was given an “inadequate” rating by Ofsted in 2017 when inspectors warned school leaders’ approach to bullying was too “weak”.

It was taken over by the Harris Federation, an academy trust, and the headteacher was replaced by Dr Chris Tomlinson, who has now been replaced by Mr Soar.

Mr Soar told the Extra: “Since going into special measures there has been a good team spirit. My predecessor Chris Tomlinson helped develop safeguarding measures to look at why there was bullying and how to prevent it.

“Pupils now say they feel safer in the school and they want to be there. We want pupils to feel excited about the school.”

Quintin Kynaston was founded in 1969 by the merger of Quintin Grammar School and Kynaston School.

Previous alumni include Madness musician Suggs, hip-hop group N-Dubz singer Tulisa, and the former Labour London Assembly Member Murad Qureshi.

The school was once run by Jo Shuter – a former Teacher of the Year in 2007 awarded a CBE for services to education, who was banned from teaching for life after an expenses scandal at the school.

The lifetime ban was later overturned and Ms Shuter set up a teaching consultancy firm.

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