New head at Coates outlines her vision

The new headteacher at Richard Coates Middle School, Heather Cape. Photograph Keith Robertson
The new headteacher at Richard Coates Middle School, Heather Cape. Photograph Keith Robertson

THE new headteacher at a Ponteland school is looking forward to the challenge of bringing out the best in every pupil.

After being appointed in April, Heather Cape started her new job at Richard Coates Middle School at the start of the new term last month.

She has worked in first, primary and middle schools during her teaching career and she was previously at Dr Thomlinson’s Middle School in Rothbury – nine years as deputy headteacher, then four as head.

The mother-of-two impressed the governors during the interview process, which included teaching a lesson, leading a school worship and data tasks.

“Every time I came into the school, I fell in love with it even more and I strongly felt that it was the right place for me to be and the right school for me to lead,” she said.

“I was blown away by the positivity of the children and staff. It’s a very caring place to work, in the sense that everything is a celebration of pupils’ achievements and hard work.

“I’m excited about the opportunity to work here and I’m looking forward to building upon its previous success as we aim to go from strength to strength.

“The school’s motto is ‘let your light shine’ and that fits in well with my ethos as an educator. It’s very important that we provide an atmosphere that allows all children not only the chance to achieve, but to excel.

“As a parent of two children, aged ten and six, I appreciate the hopes and concerns that parents have when it comes to their child’s education. I’ve told the parents I’ve met so far that Richard Coates will continue to celebrate the uniqueness of every pupil and we’re all working hard to develop their academic and social skills at an important time in their lives.

“At middle-school age, the children are also finding their sense of self and we’ll help them to discover who they are during their time at the school.”

Mrs Cape has visited the feeder first schools and met with the other headteachers in the local partnership, including Ponteland Middle and High Schools. She has also attended a few community events and will introduce herself to Ponteland organisations in the coming weeks and months.

She and her staff are planning a number of educational visits and residential experiences to supplement lessons and Richard Coates’ extensive range of extra-curricular activities.

She added: “I have experience of headship at another Church of England middle school and although there are changes to the National Curriculum from next year, I will ensure that we have a stimulating and exciting curriculum that combines academic rigour with activities which allow our pupils to showcase their creative side.

“The input of our children is very much valued and education is not done to them because they are part of the decision-making process through student voice.

“I also have a fantastic team of staff and they are all are extremely dedicated to helping each individual pupil to reach their potential.”