Introducing Brendan Pavey: a Q&A with NBH Senior’s New Head
We talk to the new NBH headteacher about past, present and future
Following a guest appearance at the Senior School’s 30th birthday art exhibition and delighted with the recent GCSE results, North Bridge House Hampstead’s new Head, Brendan Pavey is set to lead the school from its jubilant summer into the new 2017/18 academic year. As we embark on the Autumn term, we discover how the experienced headteacher has been drawn to NBH and find out about his vision for the school.
What path has your career taken so far?
This year I will finish my 20th year of teaching, during which time I have worked in three schools.
I first taught at Colfe’s School in SE London. This is an independent day school for around 700 pupils and I was fortunate enough to be there when it transitioned from an all-boys school to co-education. My role there was teacher of Geography and Games and during my last few years, Head of Years 8 and 9. After six very happy years at the school I moved out of London and started as Head of Geography at Shiplake College. Here I progressed to take on the additional role of Housemaster, which kept me busy for another five years before I became Head of Sixth Form for a further three. From Shiplake, I moved to Long Close School to take up my first Headship in a school that had everything but a sixth form.
Have you always been a teacher?
Yes, I have only ever worked as a teacher but it’s remained a varied and exciting profession as I’ve progressed and taken on new opportunities. The learning curve was especially steep but rewarding when I immersed myself in the world of Early Years and primary education at Long Close School.
What change have you effected?
I was very fortunate to work under an excellent headmaster at Shiplake, who embraced the changes that were needed at the school in order to improve our academic outcomes for sixth form pupils. When I started the role in 2010, there needed to be a much clearer focus on the choices pupils were making for A-level and these conversations needed to start in Year 9, not just towards the end of Year 11. With a closer focus on appropriate choices of subject, as well as introducing new subjects for pupils to study, results increased significantly and pupils gained access to the universities of their choice.
At Long Close, I took over a school with an excellent teaching and learning culture and some fantastic staff. However, academic results, whilst good, needed to be improved and over the last three years they have been increasing to record levels year on year. I was delighted to see over 50% of students getting A or A* at GCSE after focusing close attention to detail on tracking pupil achievement, as well as continually looking for research-informed methods of engaging pupils in their learning. Numbers of pupils wanting to enter the senior school have reached an all-time high and the school has a waiting list for the first time. At the same time, we maintained very high standards through the rest of the school with excellent SATs and 11+ result, as well as the Reception children all achieving their Early Learning Goals. The inspection report of October 2015 was a great marker for us as a school as we received ‘Outstanding in all areas’ – and the challenge since then has been to stay there and see how much better we can become!
What are you passionate about professionally?
Happy children. If children are not happy they will not learn well. This does not mean they will have a smile on their face at all times, nor that they will enjoy every single subject, but unless the focus is on the whole child, their whole environment and their well-being, then we are barking up the wrong tree when trying to improve their school outcomes. Happy children learn well. Ensuring we have happy children and removing all barriers to learning will give them the best possible chances in life.
What excites you about joining NBH Senior?
Meeting new people. I have always been inspired by the children and adults that I have worked with. Every day there is something new to learn and being exposed to so many new faces will bring new ideas, as well as new challenges, and it is this that excites me. Mrs Masefield has built a wonderful school with many wonderful people and I look forward to getting to know them all and to learning from them, whilst exploring ways in which we can keep NBH improving each and every day.
Tell us a little bit more about yourself personally…
Outside of school my life is extremely busy. This summer I have celebrated my 20th wedding anniversary. I met my wife, Sarah, the year I left school and married the year after I left university. We now have four children, (three girls and a boy – in that order) who are Year 11 down to Year 6. The stress levels have been quite intense recently with GCSE examinations taking place. As far as hobbies go, I am not sure if being a taxi driver for the children counts! When I do get a bit of ‘me time’, my absolute favourite day out is watching rugby at Twickenham. If this took place on the Saturday and then I could play a round of golf with my son on Sunday morning, followed by a Sunday roast with the family, we would be close to my perfect weekend!
Published on: 5th September 2017