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New Executive Head appointed at Pencoedtre High School

The Vale of Glamorgan Council and Pencoedtre High School Board of Governors have appointed a new Executive Headteacher.

Innes Robinson

Innes Robinson will take up the position on a three-year basis, with Debra Thomas returning to her position as Headteacher of Cowbridge.

He aims to build on the strong foundations for success laid by Ms Thomas after she spent an extended spell as Executive Head.

Mr Robinson is currently Headteacher at Whitmore High and will combine his new role with responsibilities there.

He arrives with a track record for delivering success and creating a positive school culture having previously been Deputy Head of Eastern High in Cardiff.

Mr Robinson said: “I’d first like to thank Debra for her efforts at Pencoedtre. She has put the school on a sound path and I am very grateful for that contribution.

“My aim now is to continue that excellent work and deliver the vision that I and the Council have for Pencoedtre. I believe we can look forward with optimism and excitement and I can’t wait to get started.

“The focus must always be on delivering for our pupils, giving them the very best chance to be successful in whatever they decide to do.

“Part of that involves building a community with everyone pulling together towards common goals. That is the ethos I want to instil.

“This role of Executive Head allows me to work across both Whitmore and Pencoedtre High which is important as we strive for consistently high levels of performance and approach in education across Barry.”

Mr Robinson will bolster an already strong Senior Leadership Team (SLT) at Pencoedtre, with Leanne Pownall remaining as Acting Head of School, supported by Chair of Governors Karen Dellarmi and Vale Council Director of Learning and Skills Paula Ham.

His appointment comes alongside a raft of other changes to improve the experience of pupils and staff.
Two new Assistant Headteachers have been recruited with a focus on pupil health and wellbeing, behaviour, and attendance.

There will also be additional pupil support staff employed at Pencoedtre, taking the total number to 33, while six youth workers are present to assist at various times throughout the day and after school.

A Family Engagement Officer and Liaison and Engagement Officer, both funded by the Council, have been employed, alongside a Gym Manager, appointments designed to assist with the school’s pupil and family support programmes.

There will be an increase in the number of Learning Support Assistants at the school and a greater presence of SLT members in corridors and communal areas during breaktimes.

Programmes to support pupils with literacy and numeracy have been enhanced with more work to help those with underlying issues linked to trauma taking place.

The school’s Post Inspection Action Plan continues to be implemented and staff are receiving additional training in a range of areas.

Some structural changes will take place to improve the school’s Successful Futures Centre, which helps pupils requiring specialist attention, including the creation of a lobby and single point of access.

Security features around access points will also be upgraded, with work scheduled to take place during the upcoming half-term break.

In the longer term, the Council will use Welsh Government funding to create a new permanent structure on the school site.

This will be used by pupils during the day and made available for family, adult and community learning outside of school hours.

The Council’s Youth Service has also worked with Pencoedtre and partner organisations to offer pupils a range of opportunities outside the normal school experience.

Paula Ham said: “I’d like to pay tribute to Debra Thomas for her work at Pencoedtre. She remained in position for longer than was originally intended and has set in motion significant improvements throughout the school.

I’d also like to congratulate Innes on his appointment, which is an exciting moment for secondary education in Barry.

“Innes has proven his ability to deliver in a school leadership role and I have no doubt he will continue to achieve excellent results at Pencoedtre and Whitmore.

“His appointment is one of a number of changes taking place to ensure pupils have the very best opportunity for success.

“It underlines a commitment from the Council, School Governors and Senior Leaders to create a school that can perform to the highest standards.”