Back to classroom for new principal

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After a career in education, new Holgate Academy principal Neil Holmes knows his way around teaching.

And he particularly knows his way around Holgate because he attended the school as pupil.

Mr Holmes, who grew up in Hucknall before leaving to go to university at the age of 18, has just taken over the role that was previously held by Wayne Barsby.

Mr Holmes said: “it is particularly unusual for ex pupils to take over as principals.

“I saw an advert for the place, and, as I have family around the area, it was a dream job.”

He has now moved back to the Hucknall area, together with his three children and his wife, who is also a teacher.

Mr Holmes remembers well his time at Holgate as a pupil, when Mr Round was the head teacher - complete with black cape.

“The building is almost identical,” said Mr Holmes.

“I have very good memories and I owe a lot to the school and the community.

“I have high aspirations for the school and am pleased with the recent exam results.

“There is a strict uniform code and on the whole pupils do adhere to it. They are also well behaved.”

Mr Holmes said that he would be taking time to speak with the community, the pupils and parents to ensure that the school was delivering what people wanted.

He added that this might result in slight changes to the curriculum.

In particular, the focus would be on future Year Seven pupils and those in the sixth form.

He said that he would be trying to convey the message that when he was at school, school leavers would often be competing locally for jobs, whereas in this day and age people would be competing on a global scale.

“We have set high aspirations for our students. Down the line, we will see how they have achieved against those,” said Mr Holmes.

One of Mr Holmes’ key policies is in discipline across all areas of school life.

From uniform to attitude to learning, he says he is keen to encourage high standards, both educationally and in appearance.

Mr Holmes said that appearance, particularly in the local community, was important.

He added that the school was in a good position to cater for the expected increase in pupil numbers for the Hucknall area.

And Mr Holmes, a Nottingham Forest fan, added: “There’s a real buzz about the place. Everyone is very enthusiastic.”

He suggested that his coming back co-incided with the return of Stuart Pearce to Nottingham Forest and could therefore be a great omen.