New Bishop of Rochester Academy head Kuljit Rahelu
Pupils at the Bishop of Rochester Academy will return to school today for their first full term under a new head.
Kuljit Rahelu is looking forward to the challenge of running the Chatham academy after accepting the job last month.
She had previously been acting principal for six months after the sudden departure of Colin Boxall.
During that time she has steered the academy through two Ofsted visits, a Church of England inspection plus the merger of two school sites into new premises in Magpie Hall Road.
But she said there was still plenty more to be done. “I’m delighted and privileged to be given this opportunity to drive forward improvement and change,” she said.
“I’m feeling really positive. It is a challenge and we recognise that.”
The school had a turbulent start and in 2011 its GCSE results for five A* to C grades were the third worst in England.
Results have improved but at its Ofsted inspection in the summer, the school was told it had to improve.
“It’s had a colourful history, but we’ve put a lot of things in place over the last six or seven months which I’m hoping will come out in the exam results,” said Ms Rahelu. “Our key focus is raising aspiration.
"The students’ pride in the school and the positivity is the most amazing thing" - new head Kuljit Rahelu
"The school is in quite a deprived area and that has its usual problems but we need to make sure that students can learn well.
“We have been investing in teaching and learning and improving the quality of it.
“We had to change a lot of things when we moved into a new building, but it’s all been fairly positive. The students’ pride in the school and the positivity is the most amazing thing.”
Ms Rahelu, who is also a qualified Ofsted inspector, said her vision for the school was to make it “outstanding”.
“I have quite a strong awareness of what needs to be done with teaching and learning,” she said. “The school has all the ingredients to be outstanding, it just needed someone with the vision and passion to bring that all together.”
Ms Rahelu joined the academy as vice-principal in April 2012. Before moving to Medway she worked as an assistant head at a school in Peckham, south-east London, and has been an English teacher for 17 years.