Head Sam Hart took up the post in January 2022 when the world was still in the throes of Covid, but since September he has felt a renewed energy in the school community. Undoubtedly his ‘leadership at all levels’ style has also played a part in this feeling of a reboot. He was previously at Winchester College and was attracted by Giggleswick’s non-selective, nurturing philosophy, as well as its breadth and location: ‘It’s an academic school, but there is a focus on all areas, and that gives the pupils the opportunity to find their own interests.’
His style is very open-door (one pupil tells us the school feels friendlier since he’s arrived), and he likes to know what’s going on so he can take a strategic and operational approach to making improvements. His previous career as an army officer no doubt informs his methods: seeking opinions and making decisions for the best interests of the pupils. ‘Leadership must be flexible. It depends on the audience,’ he says.
His biggest change since taking up the headship has been to restructure the school day, bringing in more supportive prep time and extra time for co-curricular activities. There are now staggered lunchtimes, an hour of supervised study (with supervision tiered to pupils’ needs) and then an hour of co-curricular with 80 different activities on offer from water polo in kayaks in the pool to knitting in the library. For Year 11 and 13, there are study workshops tailored to their exams. Pupils had a say in the changes and pupil-led activities are next on the agenda.
Don’t panic! We have more than ten years’ experience of visiting schools and advising parents, and we are all parents ourselves – we can make this easier for you.