Incoming Stevenage head sets 'outstanding' Ofsted target

PUBLISHED: 08:53 20 July 2013

Incoming head Martyn Henson

Incoming head Martyn Henson


A SCHOOL which education watchdog Ofsted said requires improvement in March can be “outstanding within four years”, an incoming headteacher has said.

New science room at The Nobel SchoolNew science room at The Nobel School

Martyn Henson will take over leadership of The Nobel School in Stevenage in September and has set his sights on seeing the school receive 
Ofsted’s top grading.

He will take over from current executive head Cathy Tooze, who is also the head of The Hertfordshire and Essex High School but has been leading Nobel on an interim basis following the departure of Alistair Craig.

The school in Mobbsbury Way has undergone a £33m redevelopment under the Building Schools for the Future programme and the incoming head told the Comet he hopes to build on that.

“I’ve had a record of improving achievement and this is somewhere I believe I can make a real difference to young people’s lives,” said Mr Henson, who lives in London, where he is currently deputy head at a school which has been deemed outstanding.

The Nobel School redevelopment at a glance

• Music centre with practice rooms

• 230-seat auditorium

• Four Apple Mac computer suites

• Full-size basketball court and astro turf pitch

• Four tennis courts

• Two drama studios and one dance studio

“It’s about making sure our lessons are as good as they can be and the fundamentals are right.

“Within four years I think that the school can be outstanding.”

About the redevelopment, which has seen existing buildings remodelled and an emphasis on open plan teaching spaces, Mr Henson said: “It’s not as important as people make out. You can raise achievement anywhere really, but the students and staff are buzzing about the new facilities and that helps to raise their morale.

“What I want to do is grab that enthusiasm, build on it and become something that is really outstanding.”

The Nobel SchoolThe Nobel School

Mr Henson was visiting Nobel to crown the first Student of the Year – Juliette Georges – who was voted the winner of a school-wide competition by her peers.

He praised the idea, which rewards achievement both in and out of the classroom, and said the school, under the guidance of Mrs Tooze, is heading in the right direction.

Mr Henson said that he was hoping to continue the relationship established with The Hertfordshire and Essex High School, based in Bishop’s Stortford, after Mrs Tooze departs.

Closer to home, Mr Henson has also met with a number of other Stevenage headteachers and highlighted the need to raise aspirations across the town.

“I’m committed to changing the perception some people have about Stevenage,” he said.

“If the whole town can pull together and support its schools I think there will be some very good things happening over the next few years.”

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