October 21 2014 Latest news:
by Tim Lamden
Sunday, November 11, 2012
Barnet education boss Mick Quigley has a lot to do before taking the reins of a new free school which is due to open next year.
Last month, he was appointed as inaugural headteacher of Archer Academy, a secondary school which will take on children from Hampstead Garden Suburb and surrounding areas from September 2013.
In just 10 months, the 52-year-old is tasked with formulating a curriculum, recruiting a team of staff and finding a building.
However, the father-of-two is undaunted by the challenge.
“It’s a very exciting opportunity to start a school from scratch,” said Mr Quigley.
“We have a very strong group who want to provide the very best education for children in their community.
“I feel honoured and excited to be appointed as the first headteacher and I can’t wait to get started, it’s going to be fantastic.”
In July, a group of parents and campaigners were given the go-ahead from the Department for Education (DfE) to set up the school under the government’s free schools initiative after their request to Barnet Council for a new secondary was turned down.
Mr Quigley will leave his current post as assistant director of schools and learning at the council to take on the headteacher role in January.
Having announced Mr Quigley’s appointment last month, the academy’s next priority is to secure a site for the school within the East Finchley area.
After the venue is confirmed, Mr Quigley will begin forming a teaching team ahead of the arrival of 150 Year 7 pupils in September.
He said: “To have the opportunity to hand-pick all your staff is an amazing opportunity.
“We think the Archer Academy is an inspirational concept so we think that will attract the very best staff.”
The initial cohort of 150 children, the minimum number required by the DfE for the Archer Academy to open, will be divided into six forms and will have the opportunity to stay at the school until the age of 18.
Mr Quigley, who spent nine years as a primary school headteacher before joining Barnet Council, insists there will be an emphasis on English and maths in the new curriculum.
He said: “What we want is a curriculum that will be relevant to children who are growing up in London in the 21st century. Something which will help them lead a successful adult life.”
Prospective parents are invited to an open meeting at Brookland Junior School, in Hill Top, Hampstead Garden Suburb, on November 28, when Mr Quigley will outline his plans for the school and take any questions from parents.
The deadline for applications to the school is February 13.
To find out more or submit an application visit www.thearcheracademy.org.uk