Local Face: Ian Brierly

Ian Brierly has returned to Buckinghamshire as the new head teacher of John Colet school. In his early days as a teacher he had a spell in Lord Grey School (as it was then called) in Bletchley, but more recently he was a head teacher in Beeston, Nottingham. He moved to Burton on Trent, Staffordshire, where his students faced the challenge of deprivation. This offered a fully multicultural experience where an established South Asian community formed a vibrant community with incomers with Eastern European backgrounds. 

As soon as Ian arrived for the job interview he says he recognised the strengths of the John Colet school. The development of school buildings has continued for several years. The governors had a new chair; the leadership team was ambitious, energetic and very impressive; a new deputy was in place. This was a moment to be seized, he felt.

As he walked around the school on interview day, the polite attitude of the students impressed him. These students were used to being consulted. They could easily converse with an unknown adult. This was a friendly school with an excellent ethos underpinning its values.

There were no surprises for him, or the staff, that even in this year when the marking had returned to pre-Covid standards the GCSE results were the best ever, and the A-level grades remained strong. The notorious gender gap was diminished as the boys are catching up fast. Clearly, these are excellent trends which the entire staff wish to continue. John Colet School is already over-subscribed and Ian Brierly wants enthusiastic students to continue to knock on a door which has much to offer to all. He wants to take on the challenge of selection and create a first choice positive learning community that welcomes students of all abilities and taps into the potential and talent of the local community, reflecting its modern, diverse and inclusive society.

From the first day of term (remember the heat of that record-breaking hot week in September?), Ian impressed on his students that his emphasis was on mind, body and spirit. Education will always impinge most upon the mind. It is incumbent on everyone to keep our bodies in good shape. Spirit is the foundation of developing character. These three qualities are the foundation of a successful life, he believes. Ian has a holistic view of the world and wants to empower young people. They are our future. His job is to inspire, listen and to make an impact, he says.

Watch this school. It’s where the future is made. The young people of Wendover have a head teacher who will lead them along a path of genuine personal development.