Osborne Primary School

NEW HEADTEACHER SPEAKS OF HER PRIDE AFTER TAKING OVER AT OSBORNE PRIMARY

Monday 23rd May, 2022

The new headteacher at an Erdington Primary school says she wants to lead a school that makes the students, parents and staff proud.

Lisa Dodd started work at Osborne Primary School, in Osborne Road just after Easter, taking the helm of a vibrant, happy and diverse school of 370 children who speak more than 40 different languages.

Mrs Dodd has previously spent six years as the headteacher of Curdworth Primary School in Warwickshire. Both schools are part of the respected Arthur Terry Learning Partnership.

She said: “I’m so excited to get going at Osborne. I was appointed back in October and have been lucky to have had a really extensive transition from one school to the other, which allowed me to visit Osborne one or two days a week for the last few months to get to know the team here and the students.

“This was great because it meant that when I started I’d already learned some of the children’s names, met the staff and got to learn about the school, which has given me time to think about some of the things that I want to do going forward.

“It’s a new area to me too – my previous school is in Warwickshire – so it’s been good to get to know Erdington.”

Mrs Dodd, who with husband Mark has two daughters aged 17 and 13, said Osborne was a very different school to her previous job.

She said: “I spent six years as head at Curdworth Primary School, which is in quiet Warwickshire village.

“But most of my career before that I worked in Coventry at a school very similar to Osborne – in fact, most of the schools I have taught in have been city schools, with lots of children who have English as an additional language, so I’m trained to teach in city schools.

“I really, really enjoyed the time I had a Curdworth, and I learned a great deal there – but I felt that calling to come back to the city kids, and when this job came up it was perfect really. This school just ticked all my boxes in terms of what motivates me and what I’m really passionate about.”

Mrs Dodd said she is determined to tap into the talent of the school’s teaching staff to raise standards, while also engaging with the community around the site.

She said: “The building is beautiful and has so much potential, the children are wonderful and lovely and there’s some real talent amongst them and the staff are really passionate about the children they look after.

“I also know the staff have been through a lot of changes in a short space of time – the school has grown from one form entry to two form entry, we’ve had the impact of the pandemic and then the school has moved site too.

“So, the staff have had change after change after change, and that is really difficult to deal with, but everybody is driven to make sure we give the children the best opportunities we can.”

Mrs Dodd is already trying to meet as many parents as possible and is keen to see the school re-engage with the community again after the pandemic.

“I’ve been out on the school gate and had the opportunity to meet parents, which has been nice. I think that one of the things that has happened to this school – and all schools, over the last couple, of years – is lots of the events and open days stopped because of the pandemic, and those are the things that give a school its heart, that connect it with the community.

“Our jobs now is to reopen our doors again and welcome the parents back in. We’ve got some ideas of things we want to do in the summer term, like having parents in for coffee mornings and holding workshops to talk to them about our new phonics scheme and meeting our new reception parents for September too.

“We also want to put on a really big and exciting sports day. Moving forward, we want all these events to be an ongoing programme.”

Mrs Dodd says being part of the Arthur Terry Learning Partnership (ATLP) – which includes six secondary and 13 primary schools – is a real benefit.

“Being part of the Partnership gives you access to lots of resources and expertise,” she said. “I’ve got really good relationships with the heads at all our other schools. ATLP is a great organisation to work for and is very much a family.

“For example, if we believe there is an area where we could do with a specialist to come and help us, I know who the people are to call on to ask for that help.”

In recent years, Osborne Primary School has moved from a site on Station Road back into the original Victorian school buildings, which were for a time an adult education centre.

While the building was completely refurbished before the switch, Mrs Dodd believes that there is still work that needs to be done.

She explained: “I think that, while the building is very nice, some of the areas were left a little unloved – like the playgrounds.

“There are many children who come to this school who live in flats and don’t have access to nice gardens and so we want the playgrounds here to have grass and colour.

“So, one of the things I’m trying to work on is how we can work develop the outdoor spaces.

“I just want the kids to be proud to come here. I want the parents to be proud that they send their children here. I want the staff to be proud that they work here.

“I want children to love learning and to love to come to school every day.”