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New headteacher for Frome College

ENHANCINGthe college’s success in English and maths, encouraging teachers to bring innovative new ideas into the classroom, and placing the college as a central part of the community are all passions for Frome Community College’s new headteacher Gavin Ball.

Gavin Ball takes on the headship this term after Wendy Missons moved to a new post in Norfolk.

Gavin Ball’s previous post was as deputy headteacher at Gordano School in Portishead, a school he taught at for ten years. His experience also includes a year on secondment working with headteachers across the north Somerset local authority.

Having grown up in Midsomer Norton, Gavin Ball started his working life as a teenager at Frome’s NatWest branch. After a degree in geography and economics he spent a number of years in retail management, before starting his teaching career in the early 1990s.

Gavin Ball explains what attracted him to Frome Community College. “I was very picky, I wanted a large school, and a school with a sixth form,” he said. “I think post-16 students can offer a strength in role modelling for younger students, and you attract good teachers because they want to teach to that higher level. But what I really wanted was a community school that the community supports and is involved with. Frome was right, Frome offered a very vibrant community that will want its college to be successful, and the creativity and vibe that Frome has to offer is fantastic when you’re coming to develop and nurture young people.”

Targets for the new headteacher include strengthening core subjects at the school, as well as media, arts, and sports. He said, “We want to be the best we can in maths and English, we want to celebrate our strengths in creative and media arts. In terms of other things I’m really keen on sport, I’m a big rugby supporter and a season ticket holder at Bath Rugby, and I think sport is really important.”

Gavin Ball says he is encouraging teachers to think outside the box and be prepared to try out new creative ideas to enhance learning and fully engage with students. “Education has got to be fun,” he said. “It’s serious and it’s hard work but I want happy students that are engaged and have got a passion to learn and aspire to be someone and go somewhere.

“We’re going to do a huge amount of work on contemporary teaching and learning concepts, and I’ve asked teachers to be more creative and exciting and take risks and really engage with students. One idea is an innovation fund – we want to grow a fund that teachers can bid into and say we want to buy these resources and do some exciting things. I want teachers unleashed with the passion of what they want to do and not feel ring-fenced. There’s huge creativity in Frome and the college and let’s bring that into the classroom.

“I’m also keen on looking at enterprise and entrepreneurship of students – are we equiping them with the right skills to be successful in life? I’d like to work with community groups on a business network and am already talking to Rotary about getting entrepreneurs or businesses coming in regularly. My vision is that we’re an enterprise centre for Frome.”

A key project over the next year will be putting together a 2020 vision document for the college involving staff, students, and the community.

Gavin Ball said, “We want the community to be really proud of its college, we want them to feel they’ve got a way of shaping what we do. We want to be the best, and we will be. I’m very happy for people to ring up for an appointment for a chat on how they can help and support their college. We’ve got a vibrant community with such energy, so let’s work together.”