G: Considering what a Headmaster or Headmistress has to be capable of in today’s educational environment, are you finding it challenging recruiting for such positions at the moment?
M: We will do what we have to do in order to recruit the best possible people as heads. I’ve appointed seven heads during my time at Alpha Plus and I’m clear that we need people who can appeal to parents and pupils, as well as manage staff and deal with all the challenges of running the school. It’s a very tough job (I know because I have done it) but luckily, we have been very successful, so far, in recruiting some truly excellent heads.
G: Do your deputy heads move around the Group, is there career progression within the Alpha Plus Group to become a Head?
M: We’ve often appointed Deputy Heads from our schools to the role of Head.
We recently opened a school in New York, Wetherby-Pembridge School, and Kate Bailey, a Deputy Head at Wetherby Prep, moved to New York to become its Founding Head. I can think of several other examples as well. So I hope that the staff know that the Group offers excellent professional development opportunities. Professional development works for them and for us, as it helps us to attract excellent teachers and leaders.
G: I enjoyed reading about the Alpha Plus Gold Standard. What do the parents make of it?
M: Alpha Plus has high expectations, seeks passionate leadership, and wants strong relationships with parents. This is the Gold Standard. It’s our hallmark of quality. One of our greatest strengths is our rigorous governance programme and this compares all our schools against this Gold Standard. Governors visit every school every term. That is the essence of what it means to be an Alpha Plus school. I think parents do understand this and value it. I hope so!
G: So you’re not waiting for formal inspections to take place then?