An academy head will be getting to know a fresh set of classrooms this January when he starts his job as the new principal of The Long Eaton School.
Mark Shipman starts his new role as principal of the 1200-pupil secondary on Thoresby Road at the start of this spring term.
He replaces former principal Richard Peel, who has gone on to a new role within Archway Learning Trust focusing on curriculum and post-16 development.
Now Mark is keen to ensure the next generation of students at The Long Eaton School reach their full potential, in full partnership between families and teachers.
Mark, of Chesterfield, who comes to The Long Eaton School having previously been principal at the Ofsted Good rated Sheffield Springs Academy, said: “Coming to The Long Eaton School is a bit of a home-coming in a way for me, in that I live in Derbyshire but I’ve worked in Sheffield for all of my 23-year teaching career. I wanted a new challenge. The Long Eaton School is a great place with a lot going for it, and I’m really looking forward to getting started!
“It’s a school with a lot of potential. There are many talented young people here and it’s about helping them through the next stage in their life.
“For any child to be successful, the school and parents have got to work together, so I think it’s important for any school to have a good relationship with parents. That’s a priority for me.
“I’ve been getting to know the students and staff. I think those personal relationships are so important. I want both students and teachers to be able to see a head teacher who’s visible, out and about in school supporting them, all day.”
Mark told how his own journey into education had been motivated by an inspirational teacher he had when he was young.
He said: “I had an incredibly inspirational teacher when I was at school, who really took a lot of time in supporting me when I was young. I decided I wanted to become a teacher from when I was in year nine. I did actually get to teach with him at a later stage in my life.
“Even when times were challenging for me personally I had this figure in my life who just used to take a lot of trouble to check how I was. That was pretty special and I will never forget it. In later life that care and attention inspired me.”
While academic achievement is the most important aspect, Mark said what happens outside the classroom is equally of value to young people and he is determined to ensure all students get the very best out of an all-round education at The Long Eaton School.
He said: “In any school, what goes on in the classroom is clearly very important. Students have to learn, after all.
“But for me, there’s a lot more to an education than that. What goes on outside the classroom is just as important.
“I want our young people to be happy, to be safe, to succeed. I also want them to develop passion for something in their life, whether that’s sport, music, the arts, drama … these things are all important too.”
In 2023 it is now two years since Covid lockdowns and Mark has nothing but respect for young people who coped so admirably with a tough situation.
He said: “I think young people in general coped with Covid really admirably. In terms of everything that happened, they have developed great resilience. We just need to give them all the support we can so the impact of Covid is reduced.
“I want this to be a great school for young people to come to, where they can do their very best. In terms of teaching and learning, we’ll make sure they make excellent progress with their studies. I also want the school to be a place where students are given the opportunity for exploration outside the classroom, that will shape them as young people and will inform their development chances a lot better. I want them to be inspiring young people and go on to have good careers in whatever field they choose, knowing that The Long Eaton School supported them to pursue those opportunities to the best of their abilities.”