Hoe Valley School appoints new head

THE founding team behind a new ‘free’ state-funded secondary school in south Woking have announced their headteacher in readiness for a presentation this evening and their first admissions next September.

Hoe Valley School, founded by local parents, business people and school leaders through the Government’s Free Schools programme, are holding tonight’s (Thursday) event at the Dianthus Building in Goldsworth Park for parents, children and any other interested parties.

A HEAD OF THE REST – Penelope Alford will be head teacher of the new Hoe Valley free school

A HEAD OF THE REST – achiever Penelope Alford will be head teacher of the new Hoe Valley free school

Having been approved by the Department for Education in June, the state-funded Hoe Valley School will be offering 120 places to Year 7 students in September 2015, predominantly from the GU21 and GU22 postcodes.

It will be the first major school to open in the borough for many years.

Independently of Surrey County Council, Hoe Valley will be following the National Curriculum, helping to fill the shortage of secondary places. Penelope Alford (née Harwood) is excited about becoming the new headteacher.

She said: “I am delighted and looking forward to making this dynamic vision for the south Woking community a reality. I am passionate about leading a school where pupils are excited about what the next day holds. “Hoe Valley will experience learning that is memorable, challenging and relevant to the wider world.”

Penelope, who will formally take up her post in January, is already contributing to the team. She comes from the OFSTED-rated ‘outstanding’ secondary Fulham Cross School for Girls, where she is acting deputy.

She was responsible for Teaching and Learning across the curriculum and drove best practice development through rigorous training programmes, lesson observations and discussions with students.

Hoe Valley’s Interim Chair of Governors, Lynne O’Reilly, who led the recruitment, said: “We were extremely fortunate to be able to choose from a very strong field. Having put the candidates through their paces over two days, we felt Penelope’s vision and leadership, along with her proven track record of driving outstanding practice would provide a strong foundation for the fundamentals of Hoe Valley School.”

Co-founder and Project Director Claerwyn Hamilton-Wilkes said: “Ms Alford demonstrated a real passion for the founders’ vision. She exudes an infectious enthusiasm for what this school plans to deliver and the whole team are delighted to have found a candidate to take our vision and lead the school through its formative years.”

At tonight’s Hoe Valley School presentation, there will be separate briefings for adults and ‘round robin’ events for Year 6 children, where they will be exposed to some of the academic and extramural activities planned.

While the children are conducting explosive experiments with the ‘Supersonic Science Professor’, doing a little fun maths and entering the ‘Dragons’ Den’ with their business ideas, Woking Sea Cadets will be on hand to teach children how to rig a boat, perform CPR, fall in and explore a fire engine, and many other fun tasks.

THE Hoe Valley School open evening at the Dianthus Centre, Goldsworth Park is from 6pm until 8pm and is open to anyone who would like to find out more. The team will be available to meet parents and answer any questions they may have.

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