Posted on: February 3rd 2023

Headteacher Update 03.02.2023

Alaric govan sml picWelcome to the first of my Headteacher updates.

These will be generally fortnightly (sometimes more frequent if there is something I need to write to you about) and will try to explain some of the things that we do at the school.

As this is the first update, I thought it would make sense to give a brief history of who I am and why I am now working at Chichester High School. This is my 27th year in Education, all but five weeks of it spent in Hampshire schools. Over this time period, I have worked in various schools as an English teacher, Head of Department, Assistant Headteacher, Deputy Headteacher and finally as a Headteacher for the past four and a bit years. I have lived in West Sussex for the past 17 years and Chichester High School is somewhere I have always wanted to work. When I saw the advert back in June of last year, I knew that this was too good an opportunity to miss. 

I believe in high standards of behaviour and achievement (both inside and outside of the classroom), but I also think it’s important to provide high levels of support too. During the seven-year journey in secondary education, students will grow from children, through the teenage years, and finally into young adults. On a practical level, this often means that children who begin Year 7 looking up at me, end up towering over me by the time they leave the school. In between all of that physical growth, they will grow emotionally too and school is, and should be, a safe place where they learn from mistakes and hopefully finish their time ready for their next phase of life, be that education, apprenticeship, or work. For some students, this journey will be a relatively easy one; for others, there may be barriers that need to be overcome. But I think that schools are filled with people who embrace that challenge and want to make a difference as much as they possibly can. After five weeks, I’ve met lots of staff here who have a real pride and commitment to exactly this. 

 My work over the first five weeks has been broadly split into two types of activities:

  1. Learning as much as I can about Chichester High School, so I can make informed decisions about what we need to build upon, and what might need changing.

  2. Making the normal day-to-day decisions that need to be made in a large school with over 1300 students and almost 200 staff. 

As you know from the letter I sent home last term before starting at the school, we have been making a push on uniform/ jewellery and lateness to lessons.  My view on uniform is fairly simple- if you have a policy, it should be enforced. I believe that dressing smartly puts us in the right frame of mind for work and, at the end of the day, you send your children to this school in the expectation that they will receive a good education. Lateness to lessons is also crucial to students getting the most out of their time at the school- it is incredibly disruptive to both the teacher and the class when students arrive late, so we have been enforcing that over this half-term. The vast majority of students (and indeed parents/ carers) have been understanding and supportive about this, and I'd like to thank you for that.

I read online this week that today (Friday 3rd February) is the exact midpoint between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox. In America, they sometimes refer to this as ‘Groundhog Day’ (as in the 1990s film with Bill Murray), but the point of it is that it’s supposed to indicate the start of spring. Let’s hope it’s a good one.

Have a good weekend. 

A Govan




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