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New headteacher aiming on town school's success

PUBLISHED: 12:00 14 October 2016

Woods Loke headteacher Joel Crawley with year 4 pupils.

PHOTO: Nick Butcher

Woods Loke headteacher Joel Crawley with year 4 pupils. PHOTO: Nick Butcher

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A new headteacher is aiming to build on the "good foundations" and raise achievements at a Lowestoft primary school.

Joel Crawley is the new headteacher of Woods Loke Primary School, Lowestoft.

PHOTO: Nick ButcherJoel Crawley is the new headteacher of Woods Loke Primary School, Lowestoft. PHOTO: Nick Butcher

And returning to the area that launched his teaching career, Joel Crawley is keen to “light the fires of inspiration” in the children after taking the helm at Woods Loke Primary School.

He has replaced Mark Prentice, who retired at the end of the summer term after 10 years as Woods Loke’s “brilliant headteacher.”

Mr Crawley has pledged a culture of continuous improvement after taking over the reigns at the start of last month (September).

The school in Butley Drive, Oulton Broad was rated as one that “requires improvement” in March 2015 – and according to Mr Crawley, it is expected to be inspected by Ofsted “this academic year.”

The 42-year-old – who transformed Alburgh with Denton Primary School in Norfolk from a school that was on the verge of closure to an ‘outstanding’ school when it was graded by Ofsted in March this year – is looking forward to the future.

Mr Crawley said: “I have been a teacher for 20 years. My first teaching job was at Carlton Colville Primary School, where I worked for seven years, before moving to St Mary’s Primary for two years.

“It gave me a good grounding as I got to know and love the area. Having lived in Lowestoft, I know this area well. The chance to come back here came about and I want to give something back to the community by inspiring the next generation in the town.”

After spending 11 years at Alburgh with Denton Primary School, where he was deputy head then headteacher for six years, Mr Crawley said: “When I took over at Alburgh with Denton it was a requires improvement grade three school, which was in danger of closing due to the numbers. The school roll almost doubled and it was voted the number one performing school in Norfolk in 2014. It was a long journey, full of hard work.”

Now keen to apply that to Woods Loke, Mr Crawley – who has already taught a lesson with every class at the school – said: “They are lovely children, who are keen to learn and really enthusiastic. The teachers and staff are passionate about what they do and they are extremely hard working. We are keen to move forward as a school, with a vision in place of where we want to go.”

Having held a meeting with all the parents, Mr Crawley has been consulting with the families, staff and governors.

He said: “We are confident in where we want to go and we have a plan to get there but it takes time. Raising achievement in the children is the number one priority – that can be improved – its about raising aspirations. We want to light the fires of inspiration in the children, and if they have the right attitude they can go on to achieve anything.”

■ Have you got a story for Schoolzone? Email mark.boggis@archant.co.uk

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