Daventry special school's new headteacher pledges to turn pupils into 'happy and successful adults'

Gareth Ivett started his new role at Daventry Hill School two weeks ago
Gareth Ivett started his new role at Daventry Hill School two weeks ago

The new headteacher of a special school in Daventry says he is passionate about transforming his pupils into "happy and successful adults".

A relatively new academy, Daventry Hill school began in 2016, moving into its current purpose-built home in 2017, and counts 152 students, with a total of 175 expected to be enrolled come next September.

Gareth Ivett, 46, started his new role as head of school two weeks ago, having spent three years as curriculum leader then assistant headteacher at Isebrook SEN College in Kettering.

"I was in business before but made the move into education because it was a real passion for me, then I moved through into special education needs," said Mr Ivett.

"I want to ensure the children get the best outcome, which is something we are working on here.

"The purpose for the school is to create happy, successful adults; for some that will mean full-time or supported employment."

While in Kettering Mr Ivett, with the help of the school trust, helped develop a supported internship system.

That sees the school hire a job coach for pupils and instead of going to classes, the sixth form student goes to work.

This, says Gareth, ultimately gives them more independence and will teach them things like "empathy and resilience".

"Latest figures show that 80 per cent of SEN young adults would like to have employment, but just four per cent are employed," said Mr Ivett.

"That is an appaling skills gap."

"There are lots of things we can do to upskill our students for employability because they have a lot to offer," he added.

One of the advantages Daventry Hill School has, says Gareth, is the fact it's an all-through school.

This allows teachers and staff more time to develop each child as some may grow slower than others.

It also means the school can bring a personalised approach to student development.

"Some solid foundations have been laid here, now what we can look at is what we can do to empower the children.

"We want to really involve the families so we can meet the needs of the students."

Gareth hopes to work with the Daventry community which he says possesses great resources that can help his students.

This could see the school reach out to businesses in the area to allow the pupils to gain experience of work (being in the work environment and observing) before undertaking a period of work experience.