New Francis Combe Academy head is 'absolutely focused on the quality of teaching and learning' (From Watford Observer)
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New Francis Combe Academy head is 'absolutely focused on the quality of teaching and learning'
The newly appointed principal of a Garston academy said she is delighted to be leading the school which she studied at more than two decades ago.
Deborah Warwick has been announced as the leader of the Francis Combe Academy after standing in as acting principal since last May.
Ms Warwick, who used to be a pupil at Francis Combe School between 1983 and 1990, said she feels "very fortunate" to lead the academy.
She said: "The school has changed since I was a pupil, but it’s still a school that’s very much focused on the students as individuals.
"People talk about the beating heart of Francis Combe. That continues to beat very strongly and that’s always something which has transferred from the old school to the new academy.
"As a pupil it was an amazing place to be a student. I was there between 1983 and 1990 and it very much supported me to get my qualifications and to get my science degree.
"It’s also a community school. It’s about students achieving their ambitions and getting the high academic results and it’s a place that gets under your skin and it’s about really making a difference to youngsters."
Ms Warwick became a science teacher at the Horseshoe Lane school in 1999 and in 2005 she joined the senior leadership team.
She said: "I was proactive about wanting to come back to Francis Combe and when I went into teaching I knew that I very much wanted to teach at this school, so I actively badgered to get a position here."
Ms Warwick said that, despite being acting principal for almost a year, she had to apply for the role and go through a recruitment process.
She added: "You have to prove that you’re the right person for the job and I’m thrilled with the support I’ve received from the students, governors, parents and staff.
"I feel very fortunate to lead the academy. The staff here work absolutely relentlessly to ensure that every student is achieving."
The academy opened in September 2009 and completed its new build project in 2012. It’s vision statement is "Transforming Lives Through Learning".
The academy’s latest Ofsted report, which was published in December, revealed that it still "requires improvement".
However, Ms Warwick is confident of the direction the academy is moving in following some of the "positive" comments from inspectors.
She said: "The Ofsted report was very positive in terms of the things we have done, particularly over the last year to move the academy on.
"I know the academy and the students, but more importantly I know what we need to do. I’m absolutely focused on the quality of teaching and learning.
"It’s about students achieving the ambitious targets we set for them, which is very important."
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