Unusual career path for Kirkley head
WHEN Richard Pickard chose his career in the RAF he believed his goal was to become an officer.But a chain of circumstances meant that instead of providing welfare, discipline and career advice to a squadron, he chose to focus his skills on a completely different profession.
WHEN Richard Pickard chose his career in the RAF he believed his goal was to become an officer.
But a chain of circumstances meant that instead of providing welfare, discipline and career advice to a squadron, he chose to focus his skills on a completely different profession.
In his first post as a headteacher Mr Pickard is leading Kirkley High School through a significant time of change, aimed at raising the achievements of each individual student.
Having inherited a number of issues, he intends to steer his staff and students through the transition with a very firm plan to help pupils attain better exam grades.
He said: 'We are a challenged school; we have been identified as having persistent absence, so there are a number of issues which we will change.'
Mr Pickard said he had very firm plans for raising the achievement of students for the need of the school and the community.
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'The most important thing is the individual achievement of the children. We are not solely about raising headline figures for the school but we want every child to achieve their potential. The most important change I have initiated is that we now have up-to-date data on every child on every subject in year 11 pointing out those who perform below and beyond expectations.
Mr Pickard entered the teaching profession at the age of 25. He said: 'I was a mature entrant into teaching in 1991. Before that I was in the RAF as a mechanic. I spent the majority of my time at RAF Honnington, I did bits and pieces here and there and finished at RAF Witton in Cambridgeshire. I worked on grounds vehicles, anything from bikes to tanks.
'When I was in the RAF I think for the first time in my life I realised the better qualified I was, the more money they would pay me.'
After completing some further training he rose in ranks to corporal but he aspired to being an officer.
'I had to go through stringent tests of which I passed them all, but I wasn't selected because I didn't have a degree and everyone else who went for the post did.'
Mr Pickard enrolled at Middlesex University undertaking a design and technology degree, with the full intention of using it to gain officer status when he re-joined the RAF.
He said: 'Because I was doing a bachelor of education I had to do teaching and I found myself realising that I quite enjoyed it, so that was the path I took.'
Mr Pickard's first job was at Ernulf Community School in St Neots in Cambridgeshire as a design and technology teacher. He moved into Weavers School in Wellingborough, Northamptonshire as head of the department, Arthur Mellows Village College in Peterborough as head of faculty and later assistant head. Lastly he worked as deputy head of Edensor Technology College in Stoke on Trent, which he left after six years for the headship at Lowestoft.
'The fact I've moved round the country is that my one priority is the job should be right, I have to feel I can make a difference,' said Mr Pickard.
'I looked for a school that was in challenging circumstances. I went looking for GCSE results that had the capacity to get better. But it's not just that, its trying to find a school that was willing to improve. When I was interviewed the one thing that came across was that all staff and students wanted to do well.'