Stuart Jamieson, Huyton Arts and Sports Centre for Learning

This ethos is down to principal Stuart Jamieson, who is certainly leading by example after carving out his own ambitions to become a leader and eventually realising his dream.

“I began my career in education in 1988 when I was in a school in Humberside in inner-city Hull. Then eight years following that I was at what is now Christ the King in Knowsley and I was head of performing arts there,” says Stuart. “I knew quite early on in my career that I wanted to be a headteacher or principal and it was my hope that one day I could return to Knowsley.

Obviously I haven’t come to Christ the King but to just a mile away at Huyton Arts and Sports and it’s interesting because some of the children I taught all those years ago have got children of their own now who actually come here.”

Huyton Arts and Sports Centre for Learning opened in 2009, bringing together the majority of staff and pupils from Bowring Sports College and Knowsley Hey Arts College. Stuart then took the helm around two years ago and believes that being a principal is a “natural progression” for him.

“The background that I’ve got in arts is natural to a lot of the enjoyment aspects in education but then as I moved, to a degree, outside of the classroom I saw the influence that I could have on training in general and raising standards,” he explains.

Stuart’s key focus of leadership and driving up standards within the school is apparent amongst pupils and staff as he says: “You can say it can’t you but leadership also spells the words ‘idle phrase’ if you take those letters separately, and it’s about making sure the leadership is about the young people doing things that make a difference to themselves and others. I think what we’re trying to do is give them the voice and the example so that they don’t just say it but they turn up and do it as well.”

He is also working in partnership with The Dean Trust, an academy trust which leads programmes aimed and schools and teachers aspiring to be outstanding.

Continuing with his strong sense of ambition and vision for the future, he adds: “My key aim is to get this school to be outstanding, and on a career level I want to see as many people alongside me go on to get their own headships and go on to be the best in their field.”

Despite a relatively short time at the top at Huyton Arts and Sports Centre for Learning, it would seem much progress has already been made when it comes to instilling the idea leadership amongst young people, and Stuart says: “We’ve introduced the ROSS Programme, which is respecting others, self and schools.

They go out and work in various primary schools and look at what being respectful of the self and school means, about how they relate to one another, about what’s acceptable and having that trust amongst each other really. We also have things such as a student passport whereby they’ve got to participate in at least 100 hours of activity from reading in assembly to supporting others in youth leadership sessions.

“The other thing would be developing an independent study culture and having students being proud to stay and come along before, during and after school or weekends and holidays, to want to study and take responsibility for their own destiny. Most weekends there are young people in doing extra study and I think that will translate into results, particularly this summer.

“One of my mantras is that culture eats strategy for breakfast because you can have all the strategies in the world but it’s about building that culture of daily habits and consistency of challenging with performance.”

Under Stuart’s reign the school has also worked to create stronger links with parents by hosting events, a ‘monthly matters group’ with seminars, and a weekly newsletter. Meanwhile connecting with the business community is aiming to help young people feel more positive about the world of work, and inspirational people have also made visits to the school to inspire pupils to aim high.

“We had Steven Gerrard in last summer when he came and opened his soccer foundation for a week and he wanted to come back to his roots in Huyton. Then we had Neil Danns, the Olympic skateboarder, in recently,” says Stuart. “When you spread the culture for someone who’s like Steven Gerrard, like Neil Danns, who’s just come from nowhere but dedicated their life to being the best in their field it opens up the art of possibility, but actually it lets young people know there’s no tricks other than dedicated hard work, practice and consistency.”

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