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Head of School - Simon Underwood

Head of School Simon Underwood will bring ‘long term and sustainable improvement’ to Corby Business Academy.

Experienced school leader Simon Underwood is committed to creating ‘long term and sustainable improvement’ in his new role as one of the two new Heads of School at Corby Business Academy. He has ambitious plans for the both students and staff following the resignation of its former Principal due to personal reasons.

The team has already been reviewing key aspects of the Academy’s operation, including how to optimise students’ educational provision. At the heart of this is a development plan that has a relentless focus achievements and outcomes.

Having worked in a range of educational contexts, Simon’s 20-year career has equipped him with a wide-range of experience and success in school leadership. He has a proven track record of leading outstanding teams through the management and development of staff and by building excellent relationships within school communities. His appointment to Head of School means there will be a sharp focus on establishing sustained progress, especially in the key areas of culture, standards, teaching and outcomes: ‘There needs to be improvement in the educational outcomes and life chances for our students: this is a non-negotiable. Delivering the highest standards in every element of school life will become day-to-day practice.’

Corby Business Academy’s Head of School is also under no illusions regarding the transformational journey on which staff and students are about to embark: ‘Sometimes rapid school change is needed; the reality is that we are responsible for providing students with outcomes that open as many pathways as possible. However, what you cannot do is lose sight of creating sustainability and long term change. We will be looking at many elements of the Academy’s provision, with the aim to ensure that all stakeholders can contribute and flourish. One of our aims will be to empower students and staff in all areas of school life.’

Simon’s previous experience and success should prove invaluable. After only a few months into his career, he became Head of Department and transformed a school with no PE department into a specialist Sports College. From there he went to a more challenging school in significant difficulties. He was part of a leadership team that transformed it from an Ofsted judgement of ‘Requires Improvement’ to ‘Good’ in just over three years: ‘That was a really big transformation and a massive achievement. It was an exciting time that taught me a lot about the power of education. There was a real sense of community pride.’

Attracted by its outstanding status and culture of high expectations, Simon then moved to Brooke Weston Academy where his reputation for highly effective leadership continued. During his three and a half year tenure, he successfully led many aspects of the Academy’s provision. His achievements have been repeatedly recognised through external reviews and students’ academic outcomes.

Simon is looking forward to his new role at Corby Business Academy where he will use all of his previous experience to effect positive change: ‘We will aim to deliver high quality teaching and learning, positive attitudes and collaboration. Embedding a culture that promotes aspiration will be crucial.’

When asked about his reputation for discipline and high standards, Simon was both pragmatic and reflective. ‘Although I am passionate about high standards in all aspects of academy life, students will quickly understand that, although my standards remain consistently high, there will always be a commitment to support. Leadership most definitely entails strategy, standards and structure; however, it also requires nurture, care and development.’