Meet the new headteacher at St Peter’s School in Huntingdon

Christopher Bennet.

Christopher Bennet. - Credit: Archant

Of the hundreds of people that started St Peter’s School this month, one faces an immediate challenge.

Christopher Bennet arrived at the Huntingdon academy school at the beginning of September to take over as headteacher from Val Ford after joining from Ormiston Bushfield Academy, in Peterborough, where he was deputy principal.

One of his first tasks is to prepare his school for Ofsted, which will be carrying out a monitoring inspection in October as St Peter’s is currently regarded as “requiring improvement”.

“Arriving here on September 1 and having the prospect of Ofsted already has been a challenge, but actually I’m really impressed with how the staff have reacted,” Mr Bennet said. “I had to stand there in front of our staff – 150 adults – to tell them where the school was currently and where we need it to be and what needed to be done to get there.

“All the teachers will be visited to assess the quality of teaching as we will be investing in their professional development. I have already put the training budget up by 133 per cent.

“I have given myself 18 months to get the school to “good” – that’s when Ofsted will visit the school for the next full inspection.”

He added: “As I am a parent, I have the benefit of looking from that perspective and I’d want to send my child to a good school.”

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The 43-year-old, who lives in Arlesey, added: “I was attracted to apply for the position at St Peter’s as, although the school is larger than average, teachers knew every pupil’s name.

“We have strong results, performing above the national average with 57 per cent of A* and A grades. In chemistry and physics there is a 100 per cent A*-C rate but it’s not just in the academical subjects, as art was high too.

“It’s not just lessons – I want to put a greater emphasis on the Duke of Edinburgh and Outward Bound schemes as they give people leadership, resilience, group work and all the skills employers need.

“I want to create leaders for the future of the local community, nationally and internationally. I want to get students to where they aspire to be. I am someone who believes that you can work with children to achieve that.”

Away from his life in St Peter’s School, Mr Bennet enjoys watching his two sons play football and rugby, and takes part in archery – he even has a longbow in his office, though he joked it will not be used for punishments ... as he’d miss!