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Rookwood School’s new Head from September 2024

Paul Robinson and family

We are thrilled to introduce Mr Paul Robinson as the new Head of Rookwood School from September 2024.

Currently serving as the Acting Head of Beaulieu Convent School in Jersey, overseeing a diverse student body of over 750 girls from ages 3 to 18, as well as boys in the Sixth Form, Mr Robinson brings a wealth of experience to his new role. With a background in Civil Engineering from the University of Leeds, he transitioned to teaching Mathematics in schools across the South of England, including independent institutions such as Ardingly College and St George’s College, Weybridge, where he held the position of Assistant Head responsible for the curriculum.

Commenting on his appointment, Mr Robinson said:

“The ethos and values of Rookwood immediately drew me to the School and during the interview process I witnessed a tangible link between what the School stands for and the quality and depth of provision. Every member of the community that I was able to meet spoke with such passion about what the School stands for and why it is such a wonderful place to come to learn and work. My family and I are thrilled to be joining such a wonderful School, that places a true focus on family, whilst simultaneously asking all children to ‘dare to learn’.”

Mr Robinson was chosen from an outstanding field of candidates to replace Mr Kirk-Burgess who, after seven years of successful headship, left Rookwood last term to complete a Masters dissertation and explore new opportunities.

Families will have an opportunity to meet Mr Robinson during the Summer Term. Full details will be released in due course.

In the meantime, you can learn more about Mr Robinson by reading our mini interview below.

What attracted you to the role at Rookwood School?

I was attracted to the role initially because of the values and virtues of the school, its size, and its caring and supportive nature. Upon attending interview, it was apparent that what the school said on paper was actually true, and I was blown away by the kind and caring nature of staff and how they were nurturing every child at Rookwood. Over the course of the recruitment process, I grew to like the school more and more and felt that the fit was just right.

What skills and experience do you bring to the role of Head?

For a brief period of time, I worked as an engineer before becoming a teacher over twenty years ago. In this time, I have worked in the state and independent sectors as well as internationally. Since 2007, I have worked in all through schools and believe that there are significant advantages in children attending such schools. We, as teachers and educators, get to know each child as an individual and understand how they learn best, and gain a better understanding of their emotional needs.

I have held various leadership roles over the years, relating to both academic and pastoral elements of a school, and most recently have been the headteacher of an all through school on the island of Jersey. In this role, I have overseen a review of the school’s academic processes and ensured that the school continued to care for its young people to the best of its ability by upholding all the relevant safeguarding standards and enhancing the pastoral provision. There has also been a focus on developing the co-curricular programme for the younger year groups to support the diverse range of interests and talents shown by the pupils.

What are you most looking forward to about the role?

I’m looking forward to meeting all members of the community and getting to know all pupils, families and staff. A school should be centred around the people that learn and work within it, and my first impressions of Rookwood were incredibly positive. I’m also looking forward to ensuring that the school continues to develop and remain a popular choice amongst families within the local area who are considering an independent education for their children.

What has been your proudest moment in teaching?

Gosh, there are lots, and they are all very different! I suppose a common theme to my proudest moments relate to pupil success, be it academic or personal. One of my more recent moments of being very proud was supporting a particular student who found Maths very difficult and helping her achieve the grade she needed to access her first choice of Sixth Form College. Helping others overcome fears and barriers is an incredibly important part of my job, and helping pupils do something that they thought would never be possible always makes me very proud. A pupil who never thought she would enjoy running, who went onto be part of the cross-country team I coached remains high on the list, as well as many pupils who faced up to their own personal barriers whilst I coordinated the Duke of Edinburgh Award.

What are your memories of school as a child?

My memories of primary are slightly blurred as I moved between three different schools, but my secondary school memories are very vivid. I was inspired by many of my teachers, but in particular by my Maths and PE teacher, who enabled me to take risks, make mistakes and learn from them. He encouraged me to work hard and challenge myself to be the best I can, whilst also remaining incredibly supportive. I was lucky to make lifelong friends at school, many of whom are now teachers too, and we still share many happy memories of our days at school.

What do you enjoy doing outside of school life?

I like to spend time with my wife and two children. We currently live in Jersey, so spend time on the many wonderful beaches, walking and going for cycle rides. As most parents do, I spend a good amount of time facilitating my children’s hobbies which revolve around horses and swimming for my daughter and cricket for my son! I also like to remain active and enjoy riding my bicycle (I’ve competed in the past) as well as reading and keeping myself up to date with the world of education. When the opportunity does arise, a meal out with friends as well as family is always welcomed!