First-time headteachers start ‘best job in the world’

Toria Bono and James Field
Toria Bono and James Field

Two headteachers have taken on their first leadership roles at Horsham schools.

Toria Bono and James Field were appointed to lead St John’s Catholic Primary School and St Robert Southwell Catholic School respectively and have shared their excitement about the challenges ahead.

The pair were inducted by the Bishop of Arundel and Brighton during a ceremony at St John’s Church, in September and now have the job of taking their schools forward.

St John’s, in Blackbridge Lane, had been without a permanent headteacher since July 2014 and Mrs Bono said she felt “blessed” to have been chosen for the post.

She added: “St John’s has had a tricky time of it and the community are very relieved they have some one back at the helm. We’ve renewed our mission statement, putting new life back into things.”

Mr Field served as deputy head at St Robert’s for two-and-a-half years before being chosen to replace Anne Hudspith when she retired.

He said: “It’s a big responsibility but I’m really enjoying leading the school. It’s a great job and a job I’ve wanted.” The school dropped from ‘outstanding’ to ‘good’ following its last Ofsted inspection and Mr Field said work was being put into the children’s writing to ensure they made good progress.

He added: “More importantly for us is being outstanding in teaching the whole child. We’re making sure they learn to be good people growing up in the faith. It’s not just about English and maths.”

Mrs Bono spent three years at The Mill school, in Crawley, and has stepped from one multicultural environment to another – a situation she relishes. She said: “We’re a massive multi-cultural community – 40 per cent of children at our end have English as a second language.

“What was so lovely about the induction service was the different languages being spoken.”

There is an air of change at St John’s where Reception, Year 2 and Year 5 also gained new teachers. Mrs Bono said: “Half of our teaching staff are new and have come to us with a lot of fresh ideas.”

With a clear vision of what the future of St John’s should look like, she added: “I want to see my school as an outstanding school where people want to come to work and people want to send their children.”

Mr Field shared that ambition, adding there was “a real buzz” among parents as the next chapter in St Robert’s history began.

Another view they shared was that, no matter how much paperwork they had to plod through or how tired they were at the end of a long day, all they needed to do to remind themselves why they got into teaching was to go to one of the classrooms and watch the youngsters as they learned and played.

As Mrs Bono said: “It’s the best job in the world.”

St John’s will be holding information events for the parents of children hoping to start school in September 2017.

They will be held on Tuesday October 18 at 9.15am and 1.30pm; Tuesday November 1 at 9.15am and 5.30pm; and Tuesday November 8 at 9.15am, 1.30pm and 5.30pm.

St Robert’s will hold information events on Friday November 4 at 9.30am and 1.30pm.

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