New head for Leehurst Swan
Want a one-stop, pastoral education for your family? We at Muddy have been lucky enough to grab a cuppa with the new head of friendly, co-ed, all-through to 16 school Leehurst Swan
It’s a new year and a new head for Leehurst Swan School in Salisbury, so we hotfooted it down there to find out more about the rather impressive Mr Terence Ayres. (He wears nice suits, too.)
Welcome to Leehurst Swan! To start us off, can you tell us a little about yourself.
My teaching career has spanned over three decades and I have taught in the state and independent sector. Throughout my career I have continually looked to challenge myself professionally and have worked in primary, senior, through school, co-educational and single sex settings. Leehurst Swan is my second Headship after completing 5 years as Headmaster of Thorpe House School and I feel privileged to have been appointed to lead such a vibrant school with a strong family ethos. I have a simple philosophy, that fun and humour in the classroom promotes engagement and that when students enjoy what they are learning we get the very best out of them.
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?
When I used to study drama at GCSE my drama teacher used to refer to some students, sadly I was only a single threat, as a triple threat, as they were brilliant singers, actors and dancers. I believe Leehurst Swan provides a triple set of educational benefits for ours and prospective parents. Firstly, we have an excellent record at 11+ if parents wish to use us as the very best preparation for grammar school entry. Secondly, we continue to achieve excellent results at GCSE for students who stay with us or join us at 11 or 13 and, finally, Leehurst Swan continues to believe whole-heartedly in its vision that every child will find their voice; we therefore ensure that we provide a huge amount of breadth and opportunity so when pupils leave us at 11 or 16 they have a strong sense of who they are and what they can achieve.
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. The school also found an inspiring leader in Mr Morgan-Nash who had great enthusiasm and energy but sadly passed away after his short tenure. How will you continue his work and add your own print on to the school?
I always have high expectations of what a school can achieve under my leadership. I always seek to plan carefully for future improvement based on the excellent foundations that have been left behind and I am grateful when these are firm ones. In regards to my own prints, I am confident that in the next 5 years we will see the emergence of Leehurst Swan as the co-educational school of choice in the local area as its reputation grows as a school that nurtures and gets the best out of every individual it educates.
We hear that you are an enthusiastic sportsman, enjoy playing football (are a passionate Arsenal supporter, no less), tennis and cricket in your spare time. You also love skiing, swimming and the odd bit of surfing when you get the chance. How do your extra-curricular interests inform your role as Head?
I often credit my huge stores of resilience to my participation in sport; believe me when I tell you that learning to ski and surf teaches you the value of what I like to call ‘bounce-back ability’! In education today one of our biggest challenges is fear of failure both from pupils and their parents; what we have to instil in our young people today is that there is no such thing as failure; setbacks happen but they are often the essential ingredient that leads to success in the future. For me participation in sport, whatever your ability, is hugely important in promoting resilience, co-operation, leadership and humility.
Leehurst Swan pupils achieved an impressive set of GCSE and iGCSE specifications and all pupils will go on to their first choice of Sixth Form. These are excellent results. Is your intention to improve on this?
Absolutely! To quote Mikhail Gorbachev: “If you don’t move forward, sooner or later you begin to move backward.”
The school has a great sporting reputation. Do you hope to continue to punch above your weight on the sports field?
There will be no loss of intensity in that regard! As Headmaster I intend to play a big role in continuing our success in the sporting arena.
Your fees are very competitive. Please tell us there are no plans to suddenly hike them up!
We plan to stay competitive and provide outstanding value for money!
The school has a great many strengths which many people are not aware of; two of these being its Computer Science and Art and Photography Departments. Our Head of Computer Science has introduced a number of innovations within this area which excite and engage in equal measure. These include touch typing for Years 3 to 6, a functional skills GCSE in Year 9, the teaching of Python Coding in Year 6 and the teaching of robotics. Our Art and Photography Department boasts its own dark and pottery rooms and the work produced is always exceptional in quality.
Located in a quiet residential neighbourhood overlooking Salisbury, with eye-catching views of the cathedral, Leehurst Swan is an all-through, co-ed day school for reception children to year 11 which, with its original Victorian family home main building plus fresh and modern new builds, combines a homely atmosphere with a shipshape sense of purposeful activity. Read the Muddy review here and book in for their Open Day on Fri 4 Oct.