Meet The Principal
I am delighted to be the new Principal of Oakbank, and my appointment at the school marks a special new chapter in both my personal and professional life. I was brought up and went to school in this area, and continue to live locally with my wife and children. My father was the Head of Drama at the school formerly run on this site and growing up I was involved in after school drama productions performed there. I have spent my teaching career working in schools in and around Wokingham and as a result have built up a strong knowledge of the educational landscape at a local level, most recently in my post as Deputy Headteacher at another Wokingham secondary school.
I first became aware of Oakbank during the campaign stage back in 2011 when the founding parent group held a consultation meeting for local parents and stakeholders in the village hall. I went along with both a personal and professional curiosity, and was struck by their vision for a community secondary school to address the needs of families in the local area. Since it opened in 2012, I have watched the development of the school with interest, and was delighted when the opportunity arose earlier this year to apply for the role of Principal. I make no apologies in my ambition for Oakbank. I believe we have a commitment to ensure that every student reaches their full potential academically and that we provide them with enrichment opportunities to get the most out of their time at school, ensuring they are well prepared to flourish in the future. Since my appointment, I have been greatly impressed with the staff here; they are a highly committed and talented team and are a huge asset to the school. One of my first tasks has been to develop the leadership team, bringing additional capacity to the existing skills of the Vice Principal, Mr Prendiville. I was pleased to be able to promote two additional roles from within, with Mr Swan and Mrs Orchard each being appointed as Assistant Principals. I have also procured additional leadership expertise from the Trust with the secondment of Mr Dixon as Associate Principal. Furthermore, we have successfully recruited teaching staff for all vacancies including the Head of Design Technology, the Head of Art and Design, and two new Maths teachers. This means we start the academic year with a full complement of specialist teaching staff, something I am extremely proud of and an outcome not achieved by all local schools. A key focus for me as Principal is to create a professional and strategic vision, providing a clear direction for the whole school going forward, and establishing a focused plan for improvement. In keeping with the new Ofsted framework, I will ensure that the curriculum is broad and balanced, as well as being ambitious, challenging and engaging for every student. I will set high expectations for all and will provide the intervention and support required to make sure these are achieved by everyone. I enjoy sharing success and will always praise outstanding practice where I see it, in both students and staff.
I am committed to developing a culture of mastery and challenge within the school where all teaching is to the top, where knowledge is celebrated and in which all learners thrive. Building relationships with stakeholders is fundamental to the success of any school and I am committed to ensuring that we strengthen our engagement with the parent body going forward. As a starting point, I will be organising a parent consultation in the autumn term, with further details to follow in due course. Recently, a number of parents have contacted me about establishing a parent association and I’m very keen to see this materialise. I feel that an ‘Oakbank Community Association’ would also allow members of our local community to become involved. Community engagement is an important element of the founding vision that I would like to develop, as I believe we can benefit from the help and support of our local community whilst in turn teaching our students the values of giving back to their community. I very much look forward to sharing our successes with you over the coming months and years. I am driven by the moral imperative that education changes lives for the better and am committed to ensuring that every child leaves this school as a successful, fully rounded individual who has everything they need to lead a happy and fruitful life. With these core values at the forefront of everything I do, my role as the new Principal of Oakbank is to lead staff and students in a successful school within the heart of the community it serves.
Mr Bertrand, Principal