Meet our leadership team
Posted 3rd July 2023
Dixons Newall Green, our second school in Manchester and first free school in the North West, is opening in September to its first cohort of Year 7 students. We sat down with its amazing leadership team, Principal Stephen Garvey, and Vice Principals Kate Henney and Sophie Galloway to find out more about their plans for the academy, what they hope to achieve in their first few years, and a little bit more about them!
Tell us a bit about yourselves and your journey to Dixons Newall Green
“Coming from a family of teachers, I have seen first-hand the impact teaching can have on someone’s life. I began my teaching career in London where I worked in areas of high deprivation in a number of teaching roles. I moved to the North West two years ago and took on the role of trust assistant principal for English, working closely with colleagues across our trust.
“Although I have loved this trust wide role, I missed having an impact in one school and wanted to go back to a single school setting while remaining with Dixons. Working for Dixons Newall Green also gives me the opportunity to build something from the ground up, which is incredibly exciting – knowing that you are shaping an entire school essentially from scratch.”
“I’ve had a very privileged upbringing which has always made me passionate about fighting social injustice. Knowing that two people’s journeys can be so different due to luck feels very unfair. Because of this, I’ve always worked in areas where I feel I can have the most impact and these have often been areas of high social disadvantage.
“Wythenshawe is a place close to my heart because it’s where my mum grew up; so to be able to serve the community here is a real privilege and that’s why I wanted to join Dixons Newall Green.”
“The education offer where I grew up wasn’t brilliant. it didn’t offer any post-16 provision at A-Level, but I was fortunate enough to attend a great college where I was exposed to expert teachers whose transformative qualities inspired me to go into teaching. I started my career in Tameside, Manchester in a school which struggled with strong leadership and made me see how important this was.
“Because of my experience of education, I’m passionate about removing barriers for students, knowing that education is the key to social progress. I joined Dixons in January 2021 working in a trust wide role. I applied for the role of principal at Dixons Newall Green to get the opportunity to craft a school culture and make a difference right from the start.”
Every Dixons school has a clear mission and values, tell us a bit about yours
We have three values that support our overall mission. These are:
- Work hard: we will always work hard because it is essential for all people in whatever you chose to do. We will remain positive and never give up.
- Integrity: we do the right thing because it’s the right thing to do even when no one is watching.
- Fairness: we will play by the rules, be respectful and polite and know that when we help others we are helping ourselves. We will also treat others in our diverse community as we would like to be treated ourselves.
We truly believe that if everyone delivers on our mission statement and adhere to our values, it means we are all working hard together. By having a strong mission and values, it means we help create a sense of belonging for everyone.
What will be your key priorities in the first academic year?
We have three drivers that help frame our thinking and planning and these are based on the work of Dan Pink. These drivers are mastery, autonomy and purpose and are really inspiring in terms of concepts of motivation and what keeps us going when things get difficult. Our drivers will inform everything that we do.
We want to invest heavily in our staff professional growth. We want our staff to be as successful in their roles as they possibly can be. We will ensure that our staff onboarding and induction plans are rigorous and our long-term succession planning will be key. We need to all work together and get better at what we do every day. It is critical that we ensure our staff have autonomy which will help build a sense of belonging and we will get more commitment to our journey.
Students will benefit from a rigorous curriculum and an extensive co-curricular offer. There is a lot of industry in Wythenshaw: hospitals, IT companies, the airport, which means there are some fantastic careers within touching distance of our students. We will be spending time forming relationships with the local communities and encouraging them to come into school and support our students and co-curricular offer. We will also seek any opportunities within our community that can help students’ personal development and careers programme. We would love to embed Dixons Newall Green into the community.
What’s different about Dixons Newall Green? Why should the community be excited about this school?
We would love to show the local community how different we are. We want to be the school of the community. Our rigour is different, our academia is different and what we stand for is different. We want to create a school where routines are well embedded, and the right staff are in place.
We are humble as a team coming into this exciting new time and we are aware that whatever is put in place needs to be simple, clear, and not convoluted or steeped in bureaucracy, creating workload that then becomes confusing and in turn creates chaos. What we will do will be sustainable.
Our uniform is different and unique. We believe having a comfortable uniform that students can work hard in, that they enjoy and that is simple, helps give them purpose.
What do the next few months look like for you prior to opening?
We are going to focus heavily on routines. We are creating a robust induction programme for our new families and students. We have had two induction events and we endeavour to visit every single family at home before they start with us to get a personal connection and this will help remove any barriers that families may have.
We also have a rigorous induction programme for staff and an orientation programme for new students where we will support every single student to be the best that they can be in the first few weeks of school and their new environment. We will put everything possible in place to ensure students get it right from the start. Culture, routines, our mission and values will be a priority and with that academic excellence will follow.
For more information about Dixons Newall Green, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org