New head sees bright future for Marlwood School

September 30 2021
New head sees bright future for Marlwood School

THE new head teacher of Marlwood School in Alveston has predicted a bright future ahead for both school and pupils.

Seema Purewal took up her new post at the start of the current term, aiming to continue the improvement the school achieved under her predecessor, Del Planter.

Marlwood was rated “inadequate” by education watchdog Ofsted in 2017 but showed its fortunes were reviving when it left special measures at its next inspection early last year.

Since then the coronavirus pandemic has massively disrupted every school.

But Miss Purewal said that, while there is still plenty of hard work ahead, the school is making good progress.

She said: “Although the last 18 months have been challenging for all schools, teaching staff at Marlwood are really glad to be back in their classrooms, doing what they do best – providing the best learning experience for our pupils by embedding our research-based practice every lesson, every day, and I have no doubt their efforts will be recognised as we strive towards a good judgement in our next Ofsted inspection.”

Miss Purewal comes to South Gloucestershire after 20 years teaching in the West Midlands.

She has already begun the task of making changes to improve the student experience, including an emphasis on wearing the school uniform with pride and changing dining space to “ensure a more mindful lunchtime experience for our pupils”.

Earlier this year, the Castle School Education Trust, which runs Marlwood, took the decision to reduce the capacity of the school and concentrate on serving local villages, having previously drawn pupils from a much wider area.

Current numbers are just over 500 pupils.

There are also promising developments in the pipeline with plans to refurbish the school’s ageing buildings, problems with which were highlighted in a BBC documentary in 2018.

Miss Purewal said: “The students are very lucky to enjoy such fantastic sporting facilities and outdoor spaces, and I’m very grateful for all the fundraising and volunteering work that Friends of Marlwood have done over the years to ensure that our tennis courts and outdoor areas remain looking very professional.

"They are one of the most proactive PTAs I’ve seen in my career to date – and we are lucky to have them.

"On the horizon, we await the imminent building refurbishment programme, which will see the classrooms in our main block transformed to include new state of the art facilities.

"Exciting times ahead for Marlwood, as we enter a new era!”

In a letter to parents at the start of the new term, Miss Purewal expressed her desire to involve the community in helping the school achieve its full potential, saying she wanted it to be known for

"names not just numbers, outlook as well as outcomes".

She told parents she wants "each child to have memorable learning experiences both within and beyond the classroom every day", so they can "discover what they truly enjoy and can excel at".

Marlwood’s annual open day for prospective parents and pupils was due to take place on September 30 from 5pm to 8pm.