New Head for Leehurst
Want a one-stop, pastoral education for your family? Leehurst Swan is a friendly, co-ed, all through to 16 day school with a brand new head!
It’s a new term and a new head for Leehurst Swan School in Salisbury, so obviously we at Muddy had to hotfoot it down there to find out more, and to quiz the (dare I say it?) rather impressive Mr Stuart Morgan-Nash.
Muddy Stilettos: Welcome to Leehurst Swan! To start us off, can you tell us a little about yourself and your background?
Stuart Morgan-Nash: Away from school, I am a proud father of three great children and married to my wife, Nikki. Nikki is a Specialist Advisory Teacher for Language, Communication and Autism in Somerset County Council so education runs in the family and we learn a great deal from each other’s jobs.
I grew up in the midlands and went to Exeter University for my first degree and then studied for my Master’s at the University of Buckingham after I had gained valuable experience in teaching and senior leadership. The West Country is very much my home now though.
I’m a fan of all sport, but follow Leicester City Football Club and Bath Rugby in particular. My main passion however is for motorsport and classic cars, I’m very proud of my original Mini Cooper which I have spent the past few years restoring – I find it very therapeutic to lose myself in the garage when I get a spare moment! Prior to the Mini, I competed in hillclimbing across the south of England in an MG and was fortunate enough to win the ACSMC championship twice which fulfilled my childhood ambition.
I come to Leehurst Swan having previously been Headmaster of St Edward’s School in Reading and Deputy Head at Warminster School before that. I am delighted to back in Wiltshire and working in Salisbury in particular. The city has been through tough times recently, but has huge amounts to offer and is certainly a beautiful place to live.
Right, down to the nitty gritty. Some of Leehurst Swan’s strengths are that it is a through school, with no sixth form, and is small in comparison to many independent schools. In fact, in our recent review we describe the school as ‘friendly, co-ed and small but perfectly formed.’ Can you give us a little more of an overview about the school?
The through-school philosophy is a major part of Leehurst Swan and one of the most attractive points for me when looking at the school for the first time. I have been overwhelmed by the friendly and supportive nature of all connected to the school, and it really does feel like one big happy family. It doesn’t matter what age a child starts Leehurst Swan, they are immediately included and begin the next chapter of their educational journey, charting their own unique course. Staff and older pupils take care of the younger ones in just the same way you would expect parents or older siblings to – I have already seen some amazing transformations from pupils who were previously thought to need a long settling-in period.
We are the only independent co-educational school to go up to Year 11 in Salisbury and we offer something a bit different; for many a smaller site with more individual attention is just what is needed to get them through what can be a challenging few years. You only get one chance at childhood, and it is important to get it right – this is true whether it be the very first stages of learning to read and write, or in the run-up to GCSEs.
You have some pretty big boots to fill! Mr Leake will be fondly remembered for his inspiring leadership, developing pupils’ confidence and academic stature, and for taking the school from strength to strength. How will you continue his work and add your own print on to the school?
It’s true that Mr Leake made a big impact at Leehurst Swan and is responsible for the huge development of the school over the past few years. I feel honoured to be custodian of the school for the next chapter of its history. The school has a wonderful ethos and it would be wrong of me to want to change that, however I am keen that as many people as possible hear about it. Strengthening our broad curriculum and promoting STEM education are two ways I will go about it, I want the parents, pupils and staff to be proud of their school and be able to wax lyrical about what a Leehurst education means to them.
On social media and it says you are ‘two-time ACSMC Hill climb Champion, Dad and Headmaster…not necessarily in that order!’ and that you are passionate about motorsport, classic cars and swimming. This is pretty impressive – how do your extra-curricular interests inform your role as Head?
I think they help formulate my character. It’s crucial that, as a headteacher, you have more about you than just your working life. Having other interests aside from work makes you a more rounded individual and it’s good for pupils to see you in a different light. I hope that all the pupils of Leehurst Swan will grow to have a passion for something, for me it’s always been motorsport and I’ve been fortunate that I discovered this when I was very young.
I hear that congratulations are in order, as 100% of pupils in Year 11 passed 5 or more GCSE subjects and 95% passed 5 or more GCSE results including English, Mathematics and Science, with all set to go on to their first choice of Sixth Form. These are excellent results. Is your intention to improve on this?
These are indeed excellent results and it would be hard to improve on them! It is my intention that we will maintain our outstanding academic track record, however I’m most pleased that these results were obtained without the sacrifice of a broad education. The fact that all pupils are to go their choice of further education is also due to the character and personality they have developed over their time at the school.
The school has a great sporting reputation. Do you hope to continue to punch above your weight on the sports field?
Sport is an important subject, one that I have a vested interest in and one that I aim to enhance. I am looking forward to standing on the touchline (and even refereeing some matches), cheering on the school, and welcoming parents of home and away teams for match teas. I will be working closely with our sports department to make sure we are as good as we can be, whilst also ensuring that our pupils choose to represent school teams for the enjoyment of the game rather than a feeling of compulsion.
Your fees are very competitive. Please tell us there are no plans to suddenly hike them up!
Leehurst Swan sits in a unique place in the market and I am not intending to change this at any time in the near future. We offer great value for money and that is precisely what we should seek to continue for years to come.
Anything else? Please feel free to tell me anything you’d like me to focus on.
We’ve had a busy start to the term already – watch this space for our new film that shows exactly what it’s like to be a pupil at Leehurst Swan. It’s due out later this term and we are very proud of it! If you want to see for yourself, please come and see me at the school and we will be delighted to show you around.
Find out more for yourselves at their Open Day on 2 October, and in the meantime, check out our Muddy review.
Leehurst Swan School, 19 Campbell Road, Salisbury, Wilts SP1 3BQ, tel: 01722 333094, leehurstswan.org.uk