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Trafalgar's new Headteacher

Trafalgar's new Headteacher

What are the plans?

InDownton caught up with Jy Taylor, the new Headteacher of The Trafalgar School at Downton.

Welcome to Downton, Jy! When did you start your new role at Trafalgar?

I started in April at the start of the summer term 2024

How long have you worked in teaching?

I began my teaching career as a trainee history teacher in September 2000. I have worked in secondary schools across Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole.

Where did you work before?

Prior to Trafalgar I was Headteacher at Twynham School in Christchurch which is a large 11-18 comprehensive school for seven years. Of the last three of those I was also privileged to be the Executive Headteacher of The Grange School which is a smaller 11-18 comprehensive school also in Christchurch and support its improvement journey.

What will you bring to Trafalgar?

I’ll bring an absolute belief in the transformative power of education. I am passionate that attending a great school opens up unlimited opportunities for a young persons’ future. Beyond that I hope to bring experience of working in different contexts but for schools that were, in their own way, at the heart of their communities. I have huge enthusiasm for working in schools and enormous amounts of energy.

Do you have a connection to Downton?

None. I live in Bournemouth and did my first teaching practice placement in Amesbury 20 years ago. I have regularly passed the school as a customer at Cricket and Hockey and have always admired the campus.

Are you originally from Wiltshire?

Aside from 5 years in London, I am born and bred in Bournemouth.

What do you do in your spare time?

I spend time with my large family – we have six children. I am a failed sportsman but still try to play cricket and golf regularly. I read widely and often but can’t argue that my literature is especially high-brow! I am a fan of historical and cozy-crime novels.

What is great about Trafalgar?

The students! I was drawn by their warmth and happiness during the interview process. In the last few weeks I have met hundreds of children who are polite, happy and good fun to be around. I have also been made to feel incredibly welcome by colleagues and parents.

Are there any plans for a sixth form?

It’s not an immediate priority. I have considerable experience of school-based Sixth Form education and to do it well is hugely complex and very expensive – particularly starting from scratch. In these times of reduced funding in education it would not be sensible to put plans in place at this stage. It doesn’t help that neither the current Conservative government or a prospective Labour government appear to have any clear plans for Post 16 education. There is uncertainty about the new T-levels and the recent reform of BTEC qualifications have not, generally, been welcomed across the profession. For now, Trafalgar is best served by focusing on being the best 11-16 school it can be. Being part of the Magna Learning Partnership gives us access to a family of schools in which there is already some strong Post 16 provision in place.

What extracurricular activities do you offer?

I have been impressed by the range of clubs and activities on offer at Trafalgar – our staff are so giving of their time. In just the first few weeks I have attended House Music Finals and Duke of Edinburgh trips as well as heard of the success of our sporting stars at the area games alongside the usual sporting clubs at lunch and after school. In addition to this we offer games clubs and Lego clubs as well as other activities that bring students together in different contexts.

What involvement does Trafalgar have with Downton and the surrounding villages?

First and foremost we are the village's secondary school. The vast proportion of children from in and around Downton attend our school and therefore it does serve its community. On gate duty every morning I am privileged to speak to residents who have either attended the school or who have some connection with the school. It is my hope that under my leadership Trafalgar will become the school of choice not just for most parents in the area but for all. In my first weeks we have hosted community events including an enjoyable evening led by Malcolm Dean showcasing a film about the D-day landings and I am looking forward to the return of the Cuckoo Fair in 2025 which will of course be supported by the school.

How can local people get involved, support and find out more about Trafalgar?

For our parents we have an active PTA and everyone can read about our students' adventures on our facebook page. I am particularly keen to grow our already strong careers provision and would be keen to hear from local businesses and employers who might be able to support our students with mock interview practice or workplace interactions.

We have numerous successful sporting teams and are always open to sponsorship of the team kits! It would also be great to hear from any local people who might be able to provide an extra-curricular opportunity for our students. This might be a regular club or activity such as running a chess club or gardening club or someone who may be able to offer one-off experiences. Finally we are a large employer and Trafalgar is a great place to work, not just for qualified teachers. We employ exceptional people from all walks of life from those interested in administration to minibus drivers, exams invigilators and much more!

What else would you like to tell Downton residents?

Our students are exceptional young people and they are a real credit to their community. Downton should be proud to have such a good school in the village and I would encourage residents to celebrate our school and our children as much as they can!

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