New principal plans to make Avanti Gardens an 'excellent' school
THE new principal of Fishponds' Avanti Gardens School says he wants to make the primary "an excellent school where pupils thrive".
Ashley Milum is due to take over at the school in College Road in September.
His appointment marks another step in the transformation of the former Steiner Academy Bristol school, which was transferred by the Department for Educationto the Avanti Schools Trust after being rated inadequate by Ofsted in January last year.
The takeover has brought fundamental changes to the school, which no longer teaches secondary-aged children and has moved from the previous Waldorf education principles, which prioritisecultivation of pupils' imagination and creativity over testing, to teaching in line with the National Curriculum.
Some parents protested against the change last year, calling on the DfE to preserve the school's provision of alternative education and saying they would struggle to find places for secondary pupils. But the trust argued that the school had less than half the maximum number of pupils on its roll and faced "significant financial challenges".
Five members of staff have taken voluntary redundancy this year and Ashley takes over from previous principal Joss Hayes, who was in charge during the transfer to the Avanti Trust, a London-based charitable company which runs 11 across England, including some Hindu faith schools.
He has met with staff and some of the children of key workers who have been attending the school through the lockdown.
Ashley said: “It has been great to be warmly welcomed by staff and pupils alike.
"We have an incredible community of learners here at Avanti Gardens – I am ambitious that we grow together to become an excellent school where pupils thrive in and beyond school.”
As well as introducing a new curriculum in September the school will consult with parents on introducing a uniform.
Ashley said: “I want Avanti Gardens School to become a community-oriented school where educational excellence, character formation and spiritual insight are apparent to those who enter through our doors.
“My team are focused on putting the child at the centre of everything we do. To this avail, we will ensure a safe environment for all pupils to learn and grow.
"Our new curriculum follows the National Curriculum, whilst being underpinned by the Avanti Way with a richly holistic approach.
"We have high expectations of learning, whilst being inclusive of all needs.
"The team and I are ambitious to create an effective partnership between staff, pupils and parents/carers to form an excellent community primary school.”