Longdean ‘very strong’ says outgoing head

18/8/2011'A-level results at Astley Cooper, Adeyfield and Longdean Schools in  Hemel Hempstead.'Headteacher Rhodri Bryant and students at Longdean.
18/8/2011'A-level results at Astley Cooper, Adeyfield and Longdean Schools in Hemel Hempstead.'Headteacher Rhodri Bryant and students at Longdean.
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OUTGOING head at Longdean School Rhodri Bryant will be taking up the helm at a school in Slough hit by a scandal that has seen two senior staff leave.

Both the headteacher and academic principal at the Langley Academy were suspended in May for undisclosed matters.

Mr Bryant will be stepping in as headteacher next April, but he does not see himself as a troubleshooter.

“I was not head-hunted or anything. People are thinking that but that’s not the case at all,” he said.

“An opportunity arose through a second-hand conversation. I looked at the post. It does offer various challenges and opportunities and financial security for my family that became very difficult to turn down.”

Concerning his predecessor he said: “They left under a cloud and I am not in a position to say anything.

“The school has had a difficult time.”

This is far from what Mr Bryant will be leaving behind at Longdean, where over his five-year stewardship he has raised Ofsted scores from satisfactory to outstanding.

“When I got here we just scraped satisfactory. Now we get good with outstanding,” he said.

“The school is in a very strong place. The staff are as good a group of people as I have worked with.

“I am most proud that the children have a real sense of pride in going to Longdean. Parents say the school is part of the community and they want to send their children there. It’s a very welcoming atmosphere.”

The married father-of-three has overseen improving exam results and the achievement of academy status for the school since he arrived in 2006.

“The capacity of the school comes through the children,” he said.

“I think I will miss the camaraderie. I have good fun at work.

“I will work hard with the governors to make sure we get the right person to take the school on the next steps and for the next Ofsted to be outstanding.”

Longdean was Mr Bryant’s first headship and though he went to a public school he is a firm believer in comprehensive education.

“The issue is probably about how you can guarantee having good people working with children in each school. I am not sure the selective system allows that,” he said.

“By default you will have some schools that are very good and some that are not.”