Leading local headteacher Sarah Pashley appointed as Ron Dearing UTC Principal Designate

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The trust behind Hull’s new university technical college today (March 18) announced the appointment of leading local headteacher Sarah Pashley as Principal Designate.

The trust behind Hull’s new university technical college today (March 18) announced the appointment of leading local headteacher Sarah Pashley as Principal Designate.

Ms Pashley will lead the development of the curriculum, values and ethos of the Ron Dearing UTC, working closely with the UTC’s employer sponsors and the University of Hull.

Her appointment was announced on national “Think UTC” day and coincides with the opening of the University of Hull’s Science Festival today, where Ms Pashley and representatives of the UTC’s employer sponsors will meet potential future students.

Ms Pashley’s appointment is subject to planning approval for the UTC’s £10m premises in Hull city centre. She will remain as Headteacher of Bridlington School and will be seconded to the UTC during its development phase, becoming Principal when it opens in September 2017.

Ms Pashley said:

The establishment of the Ron Dearing UTC is a fantastic opportunity for the young people of Hull and the surrounding area and I feel privileged to be appointed as its Principal Designate.

I’m really looking forward to working with UTC’s employer sponsors and the University of Hull to develop a curriculum that equips students for the hi-tech careers of the future.

Our shared ambition is to make the Ron Dearing UTC a flagship of the UTC movement, producing a supply of work-ready young people with advanced technical skills to support the transformation of the local economy.

Ms Pashley has led a remarkable turnaround in behaviour, attendance, performance and attainment at Bridlington School.

When she took over six years ago Bridlington School had only just come out of special measures and pupil numbers were falling. Now the school is one of only two in the East Riding with a rapidly-rising roll and, in the school’s 2015 parental survey, 99% of parents said they would recommend the school to other parents.Sarah Pashley 1

Six years ago fixed-term exclusions at Bridlington School were the highest in the East Riding and one of the highest in the country. In contrast, by 2014/15 the level of exclusions was the second lowest in the East Riding.

Bridlington School’s most recent Ofsted report said the headteacher and senior staff were “tenacious and systematic in their successful drive to improve teaching and raise achievement” while, in 2015, the local authority School Improvement Service judged 100% of lessons observed to be “good” or better, with 42% rated as “outstanding”.

Other achievements under Ms Pashley’s leadership of Bridlington School include:

  • Raising attendance from 88% to 94.5%.
  • Winning a SSAT (Schools, Students and Teachers) Excellence award for student progress for the past two years.
  • Reducing the percentage of students not in education, employment or training (NEET) after leaving school from 11% to zero.

Ms Pashley has had a 25-year career in education, beginning as a Design Technology Teacher and Special Educational Needs Teacher. Her previous leadership positions have included being Deputy Headteacher at Kelvin Hall School in Hull and Deputy Headteacher at Beverley High School.

While at Beverley High School Ms Pashley was appointed as Chair of the 14-19 Local Area Partnership Group, working with secondary schools, local employers, further education colleges and other training providers to develop a joined-up curriculum offering.

As well as being Headteacher at Bridlington School, Ms Pashley is also Education Adviser to the The Hub Alternative Provision Centre for students with social, emotional and behavioural difficulties. In this role she has led a project to amalgamate four school sites into one.
Ms Pashley, who lives in Cottingham, was born in Hull and is a former student of Cottingham High School and Hull College.

She added:

Personally, I’m really excited by the opportunity to develop and lead a new educational centre of excellence in my home city.

I have long been an advocate of business engagement in education and the UTC model is unique in that it is truly employer-led. It will provide an exciting new vocational option that will complement and supplement existing educational provision.

The UTC is fortunate to have great businesses as its employer sponsors as well as the active involvement of the University of Hull and the support of many other business groups. These organisations are leading the regeneration of the region and the UTC will provide them with the workforce they require.

The Ron Dearing UTC will ultimately accommodate up to 600 students, aged 14 to 19, and is backed by the University of Hull and leading local employers KC, Siemens and Spencer Group and supported by Hull City Council.

Named after Hull-born Lord Ron Dearing, an educational reformer who promoted technical and vocational education, the UTC will specialise in digital technology and mechatronics – a combination of computing and engineering – in addition to traditional academic subject such as maths, English and science.

Charlie Spencer OBE, Chair of the Ron Dearing UTC Trust and Executive Chairman of Hull-based specialist engineering business Spencer Group, said Ms Pashley was selected from a field of excellent candidates following an interview process involving trust members and representatives of the Department for Education and the Baker Dearing Educational Trust, which promotes and supports UTCs.

He said:

Sarah will bring her extensive experience and expertise to the UTC and provide the high-level leadership the role requires. During the recruitment process she stood out as a candidate with a real commitment to an educational model driven by the needs of local employers.

Sarah will meld the requirements of local employers with the most appropriate technical qualifications to develop a curriculum that meets the expectations of Ofsted while delivering an exciting and fulfilling education for students, enabling them to progress to employment via high-level apprenticeships or further academic attainment.