New Ringmer school head interviewed by year 10 pupil

New headteacher of King's Academy Ringmer, Sian Williams
New headteacher of King's Academy Ringmer, Sian Williams

A Ringmer school pupil interviewed their new headteacher, Sian Williams.

Leonii Yazdanmehr, a year 10 pupil at King’s Academy Ringmer, quizzed the new head about her aspirations for the school, how she is settling in, and knitting.

How are you Mrs Williams?

I’m very well thank you, it has been a full-on start but it has been inspiring and very exciting.

What are your aims for the school?

The school has a recent Ofsted inspection which was a credit to the staff and students here ( I can’t claim any credit for that). It puts me in a really good position to move the school forward even more.

I’ve got 3 important aims for the school. The first is to increase the number of students in the school and make it a school of choice.

I think we had some very successful open days and open evenings when prospective parents and students have said how much they love the school.

Secondly, is obviously ‘GOOD’ IS NOT ENOUGH. Is it? I am not out to change the performance of the students because they are working really hard and some are ambitious. But just changing the culture of the school so we believe it’s possible.

I was listening to Eliud Kipchoge on the radio the other day, who had run the marathon under two hours, where he was saying ‘potential, there are no limits to what humans can do.’

That’s our ethos here now - that potential is limitless - and that’s what I want our students to feel.

What are your personal interests?

I run. I try and run every weekend. I try to do between 5 and 10k every weekend. 

I knit. I knit interesting things like jumpers for my grown-up children who think it’s really cool and trendy so I guess you could say it’s not dreadful knitting. Also, I can’t forget I read, of course, I’m an English teacher.

Why East Sussex Ringmer?

That’s a really good question, as soon as I walked through the doors here it felt like the right place because it’s Sussex, it’s where I’m from. I grew up in East Grinstead; I went to a school in East Grinstead.

This school was just so welcoming and it just felt like the perfect fit; the students and the staff are approachable, friendly, and kind to each other.

Why King’s Academies?

It’s like having a family, it’s like you have left home so you know you are independent and you go off and conquer the world but you have your family at home so if anything goes wrong, just pick up the phone.

Also, being part of King’s Academies means opportunities for us all on a global scale, not just Ringmer, the whole world.

How are you any different to any other headteacher that King’s Academy has had?

Well, I hope I am approachable and that people feel warmth when they meet me. What I really want to be is someone that understands what it is like to be a student in the classroom and not just sitting there up in an ivory tower.

I want to be a part of what’s going on in the classroom because teaching and learning is the heart of the school.

Is having a good relationship with the students important to you?

It’s essential, you can’t be a principal unless you understand your students.

Is bringing back the school houses something you want to do?

Yes, that’s my plan. Well, that’s our plan. I’ve been approached by some senior students who have asked me to bring houses back.

We will be discussing the house system, and how to launch it; what we’re going to call the houses and why we are doing it.

I think it’s really important why we are bringing it back. I think what the students want is that little bit of competition and the feeling of being part of a smaller community.

Why do you want the houses back?

I would like the houses back because when it comes around to sports day, it’s a big thing and the students get excited about it.

It becomes important to the students and it kind of makes them all involved in a sort of competitive way.

Finally what do you want your students to see you as?

I want them to see me as a firm, fair, consistent, and honest principal. I think my favourite leadership style is authentic, which is another word for real!

Thank you, Mrs Williams.