"Award is a victory for us all" - Sweyne Park headteacher

"Award is a victory for us all" - Sweyne Park headteacher

First published in Echo News by

SO what is the secret to becoming a great teacher?

According to Andy Hodgkinson, 43, headteacher at Sweyne Park School, Rayleigh, the best ones are those who manage to maintain their energy and passion for the job.

Like in any career, you start off full of hunger and bursting with ideas, but without the know-how you often need to control large classrooms full of children with very different educational needs.

Those tricks of the trade to bring out the best in pupils eventually come as second nature – but it is unquestionably a career with a steep learning curve.

Andy admits: “At the time, I was very young to become a headteacher, but increasingly we are seeing people take up leadership roles at a younger age.

“It was a daunting task because it is a job that comes with huge responsibility and I did not want to do anything silly, or on a whim, or make a mess of things.

“You can ruin a reputation far quicker than it takes to build one.”

After taking on the school’s top job in 2006 – still in his mid thirties – Andy grew into the job.

Recently he was awarded a Silver Pearson Teaching Award in the category of Headteacher of the Year in a Secondary School – and it’s not hard to see why.

He still teaches his own language classes, he is on duty every day and refuses to hide away in an office. He said: “The award was a victory for the whole school, not me. It is a cliche, but it really is true.

“I have fantastic kids, parents and staff to work with. They are the ultimate resources to a school’s success.

“We also have fantastic facilities and resources, of which of course I’d likemore, but we try to be a part of the community and invite other groups to use the school.”

Away from school, Andy has a wife and two children – Tom, aged nine, and Lucy, 11 – and he puts his zest for work down to wanting to be a good dad.

He added: “My life is really simple, I have wonderful kids and a lovely wife.

“I protect time with them as I want to play sport with my son and go to dance events with my daughter. I started cycling so I could continue to play sport with Tom and I’m fitter now than I was at uni.

“If I go out for an early morning ride then I can do my big thinking about school things when I’m out – and I’ve still got time for my family.”

Education is a fast-moving world these days, though, and he admits the life of a headteacher would not suit everyone.

Andy added: “If you do not see change as a positive thing, then it can be very difficult.

“That’s where the staff come in as well.

“Everyone has to move and change as a team and pull in the same direction – that’s what we have at Sweyne Park.”

Andy returned to being Mr Hodgkinson today when the school year began and a new group of pupils started their Sweyne Park journey.

The new intake, and all returning pupils, are in good hands.

They have a driven head who, just to make sure he wasn’t standing still for too long, has just completed an MBA to add to his headteacher award.

Andy now goes forward to the national finals, which will be televised on BBC2 in October.

Comments (10)

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4:39pm Fri 5 Sep 14

BarryTanner says...

To quote The Killers......."Andy, you're a star!".
To quote The Killers......."Andy, you're a star!". BarryTanner
  • Score: 5

4:57pm Fri 5 Sep 14

GrumpyofLeigh says...

Well done the Grammar School - keep putting the uppity Secondary Modern in its place.
Well done the Grammar School - keep putting the uppity Secondary Modern in its place. GrumpyofLeigh
  • Score: -1

1:21am Sat 6 Sep 14

ORACUS says...

GrumpyofLeigh wrote:
Well done the Grammar School - keep putting the uppity Secondary Modern in its place.
Sweyne Park is not a grammer school and their not as good as FitzWimarc in any way.
[quote][p][bold]GrumpyofLeigh[/bold] wrote: Well done the Grammar School - keep putting the uppity Secondary Modern in its place.[/p][/quote]Sweyne Park is not a grammer school and their not as good as FitzWimarc in any way. ORACUS
  • Score: 1

1:27am Sat 6 Sep 14

ORACUS says...

ORACUS wrote:
GrumpyofLeigh wrote:
Well done the Grammar School - keep putting the uppity Secondary Modern in its place.
Sweyne Park is not a grammer school and their not as good as FitzWimarc in any way.
Sweyne Park is not a grammar school either.
[quote][p][bold]ORACUS[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]GrumpyofLeigh[/bold] wrote: Well done the Grammar School - keep putting the uppity Secondary Modern in its place.[/p][/quote]Sweyne Park is not a grammer school and their not as good as FitzWimarc in any way.[/p][/quote]Sweyne Park is not a grammar school either. ORACUS
  • Score: 2

8:58am Sat 6 Sep 14

GrumpyofLeigh says...

No but for we ex-pupils of a certain age, it always will be - the grammar and superior to Fitz
No but for we ex-pupils of a certain age, it always will be - the grammar and superior to Fitz GrumpyofLeigh
  • Score: -3

9:34am Sat 6 Sep 14

sesibollox says...

A truly inspirational chap, shame many more other teachers don't take his stance.
A truly inspirational chap, shame many more other teachers don't take his stance. sesibollox
  • Score: 1

2:13pm Sat 6 Sep 14

essexisnasty says...

My god that sh@t hole got award wow
My god that sh@t hole got award wow essexisnasty
  • Score: 0

4:47pm Sat 6 Sep 14

ORACUS says...

GrumpyofLeigh wrote:
No but for we ex-pupils of a certain age, it always will be - the grammar and superior to Fitz
FitzWimarc have achieved things most other schools could only dream of.
They represented England in the World School Athletics Championships in Prague and came forth in the world and they do well academically too so dream on.
Well done to Andy Hodgkinson.
[quote][p][bold]GrumpyofLeigh[/bold] wrote: No but for we ex-pupils of a certain age, it always will be - the grammar and superior to Fitz[/p][/quote]FitzWimarc have achieved things most other schools could only dream of. They represented England in the World School Athletics Championships in Prague and came forth in the world and they do well academically too so dream on. Well done to Andy Hodgkinson. ORACUS
  • Score: 1

7:27pm Sat 6 Sep 14

GrumpyofLeigh says...

ORACUS wrote:
GrumpyofLeigh wrote:
No but for we ex-pupils of a certain age, it always will be - the grammar and superior to Fitz
FitzWimarc have achieved things most other schools could only dream of.
They represented England in the World School Athletics Championships in Prague and came forth in the world and they do well academically too so dream on.
Well done to Andy Hodgkinson.
One good year out of the 50 or so since Sweyne opened? Is that it?
[quote][p][bold]ORACUS[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]GrumpyofLeigh[/bold] wrote: No but for we ex-pupils of a certain age, it always will be - the grammar and superior to Fitz[/p][/quote]FitzWimarc have achieved things most other schools could only dream of. They represented England in the World School Athletics Championships in Prague and came forth in the world and they do well academically too so dream on. Well done to Andy Hodgkinson.[/p][/quote]One good year out of the 50 or so since Sweyne opened? Is that it? GrumpyofLeigh
  • Score: 1

9:35pm Sat 6 Sep 14

ORACUS says...

GrumpyofLeigh wrote:
ORACUS wrote:
GrumpyofLeigh wrote:
No but for we ex-pupils of a certain age, it always will be - the grammar and superior to Fitz
FitzWimarc have achieved things most other schools could only dream of.
They represented England in the World School Athletics Championships in Prague and came forth in the world and they do well academically too so dream on.
Well done to Andy Hodgkinson.
One good year out of the 50 or so since Sweyne opened? Is that it?
Well you’ve changed your tune one minute your singing Sweyne's praises now their not so good.
[quote][p][bold]GrumpyofLeigh[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]ORACUS[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]GrumpyofLeigh[/bold] wrote: No but for we ex-pupils of a certain age, it always will be - the grammar and superior to Fitz[/p][/quote]FitzWimarc have achieved things most other schools could only dream of. They represented England in the World School Athletics Championships in Prague and came forth in the world and they do well academically too so dream on. Well done to Andy Hodgkinson.[/p][/quote]One good year out of the 50 or so since Sweyne opened? Is that it?[/p][/quote]Well you’ve changed your tune one minute your singing Sweyne's praises now their not so good. ORACUS
  • Score: 1

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