New headteacher at SET Saxmundham School moves forward with community focus in mind

SET Saxmundham School, part of the Seckford Education Trust (SET), announced the appointment of Mrs Lizzie Girling as their new Head of School in April 2020, with Mrs Girling starting her position at the beginning of the academic year in September.

Starting her new position at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, Mrs Girling is keen to move forward into the new academic year and has already made an impressive mark on the school.

With the implementation of the new ‘Ready, Respect, Safe’ initiative, Mrs Girling has already made a great impression with the steps she has taken to ensure the school is safe from Covid-19. Year groups remain in their own bubbles and safety measures have been implemented around the school with revised systems for moving around the schools, hand sanitising stations, as well as all year groups being in separate bubbles.

Even during lockdown, staff from Seckford Education Trust SET schools in Beccles, Ixworth and Saxmundham were proactive and made face masks for the NHS in their Design Technology laboratories

Mark Barrow, Chief Executive at Seckford Education Trust, said: “One of the key values of the Seckford Foundation is to ensure that no-one suffers through rural isolation and many are feeling more isolated than ever right now. The Seckford Foundation were determined to respond positively to the Covid-19 crisis and continue the legacy of strengthening communities built by benefactor, Thomas Seckford.

Mrs Girling’s priority is to address the ‘Ready and Respect’ parts of her initiative by ensuring a bullying free culture and by meeting the needs of each and every student, including those with additional needs and those with particular talents and those with the very highest GCSE targets.

The school has recently set up a ‘Scholars Club’, providing a link between the students at the school with PhD students from local universities to enable students to understand more about university life and building on the students love for learning.

Mark Barrow, said: Mrs Girling is well versed in the Seckford Education Trust approach to teaching and learning. She has already made a huge impact in the school with a marked increase in the number of in year admissions since she joined.

“She has already put a number of new initiatives in place which have had a positive reaction from both staff and students.”

SET Saxmundham School is community led, with the school not letting the Covid-19 pandemic get in the way of continuing that community atmosphere. The school is striving to get communities together and work with local organisations to achieve this.

Lizzie Girling, Head of School at SET Saxmundham, said: “Community is a strong focus at our school and although we may be physically distancing, we aren’t socially distancing in terms of being social with others. We are looking to explore different ways of engaging the school community as well as the wider community too”.

Despite the restrictions in place, the school will continue creating a community led culture by bringing year groups together with the introduction of virtual assemblies, as well as launching an online mentoring programme for Year 11 students.

Lucy Payne, recent school leaver from SET Saxmundham School, said: “I loved our year group, we were all really good friends and it was such a close-knit community. Our classes were all really strong and I made so many friends that I will treasure for a really long time.”

SET Saxmundham School, on Seaman Avenue, Saxmundham, provides secondary education for students in Years 7 to 11. It is the largest school in the Seckford Education Trust and was one of the first schools to be opened in 2012, alongside SET Beccles School and SET Ixworth School.