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Saltus first woman Head Teacher pledges to keep pushing for excellence

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Tighter security, faster internet and a continuing push for academic excellence are top priorities for the year ahead at Saltus, said new Head Teacher Claire Charlemagne.

Saltus' first female head also looks forward to strong push for professional development among staff through the school's partnership with the National College for Teaching and Leadership in the UK.

Ms Charlemagne said the appointment of a woman to the top management role “sends a powerful statement about the school”.

“It's making history, but it feels very natural. Sometimes people ask me things like ‘What are you going to do for the girls?' and the answer is nothing that I wouldn't do for the boys. “It's about providing for the needs of our students, whatever they might be.

“I can be a good role model for our female students, but beyond that I should be judged solely by whether my leadership is effective or not.”

After 11 years at the school, including head of Modern Languages and Deputy Head under former Head Teacher Ted Staunton, Ms Charlemagne knows the school well.

“My passion is the students, their achievements and making sure these fantastic children that come to us achieve what they are capable of, and more,” she said.

The secondary department's exam results improved under her predecessor, from a GCSE pass rate of 76 percent in 2009 to 89 percent last year.

The declining enrolment of the recession's onset is no longer of concern: Saltus has 948 students for this September.

“Ted Staunton made a conscious effort to right-size the school,” Ms Charlemagne said. “We had grown too big — our ideal number is anything between 900 and a maximum of 960.”

The school has become “much more selective” of its students”, she said.

“That's not necessarily in terms of academic ability, but our admissions process is much more rigorous to make sure that Saltus is the absolute right fit, that we're fully able to provide for students' needs.”

Saltus had made a concerted effort to cater to students with special learning needs — although the former Centre for Learning is now called the Academic Support Services, and there has been a deliberate step away from using separate classrooms to teach students with different needs.

Two additional posts have been added to that department, she said, using existing teachers qualified to give academic support where needed.

As well as keeping abreast of the times with the appointment of Director of Educational Technology Jane Hizer, Saltus has enhanced security, with extra security cameras, a new front gate and a full-time security guard.

“I see my role as continuing along the path we're already on,” Ms Charlemagne said. “We've still got four years to go in our five-year strategic plan. The overarching goals are set. My focus is on teaching and learning.”

Looking ahead: Saltus' new Head Teacher Claire Charlemange.
Looking ahead: Saltus' new Head Teacher Claire Charlemange.
Looking ahead: Saltus' new Head Teacher Claire Charlemange.

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Published August 17, 2013 at 9:00 am (Updated August 16, 2013 at 11:30 pm)

Saltus first woman Head Teacher pledges to keep pushing for excellence

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