In the autumn of 1950 I was a school phobic. We lived in the midlands and I had just started at a prestigious grammar school. I hated it so much I was sick every morning and cried myself to sleep. As we had school on Saturday mornings, I only slept properly and without fear once a week. Then my dad changed jobs and we moved to Lowestoft where we lived on Oulton Road just beyond the Norman pub. At the Midlands school I was just getting used to my misery and thought I was in for another instalment of hell now that we had moved to a new school. My older brother told me he would meet me at break on the first morning, which was the Monday after half term, but after that I was on my own.
I didn’t bother meeting him. From the moment I arrived my form mates were welcoming as were the teachers. The school in the Midlands I remember in black and white but the school in Yarmouth Rd in colour; the former a nightmare but the latter full of delightful people who changed my life. Invidious to pick out names, but I remember vividly Miss Fordham and Mrs Hudson and I had a crush on Miss Lazenby. Dan Maddocks knew I was keen but never very good at sport. Emerson and Emsden, Wilkinson and Gibbs, Rymer and Finbow, Goody and Dowson, but above all Larry Lamb and Spoof Spalding changed my life. The school really taught me to think for myself and by their example the teachers made it clear that we should act for others. I realised that schools and teachers could change lives and I decided I wanted to do the same thing and weave magic as they had done for me. But I never forgot the school in the Midlands where nobody smiled and we changed our seating positions according to how well we were doing every fortnight and where fear stalked the corridors. I was fascinated that schools could be so different.
I expect that is why I decided in the end to try to influence schools myself by becoming, first, a teacher, then a deputy head before, by accident rather than design, an education officer in Wales and Buckinghamshire. Then I enjoyed the enormous privilege of being responsible for education in Oxfordshire and Birmingham. In between those two jobs I founded a Centre for Successful Schools when Professor of Education at Keele University. I ended my full-time career as Commissioner for London schools. But I haven’t really stopped yet. You see ever since that first autumn day in 1950 in what is now Ormiston Denes Academy, I knew that schools could make a huge difference to the lives of those in them. I have visited and known well in that time well over 2,000 schools. I am still learning more about teaching, learning and school leadership and organisation.
Of course the fun for me has been being employed in jobs I have loved doing. So I have always felt under an obligation to try to get better at what I did. In a way, my hobby was my job. I lived for it. There’s no more important job than to be a teacher or a headteacher. They make the climate of our lives and our futures, as they seek to unlock our minds and open the closed chambers of our hearts. How schools are led and organised affect the likelihood of teachers succeeding in doing that. Ormiston Denes is embarking on a new chapter and deserves all our support as the staff seek to change for the better the present generation of young Lowestoftians.
Sir Tim Brighouse was knighted in the 2009 New Year’s Honours.
With the current world situation, and not being able to offer our normal transition, we would like to share some resources to support current Year 6 students, who will be moving to Ormiston Denes Academy in the next academic year. There are a number of online sites available, these include: Be Awesome, Go Big has […]
Mrs Buckenham has created this cookbook for all skill levels. Take a look and make something tasty!
Following on from the successful OAT EAST Dance competition, the full video performance from our students can be seen here: http://bit.ly/OATEASTDance
Students from Ormiston Denes Academy had a fantastic trip to Tonale in Italy again this year for the 2020 ski trip! All students had a fantastic time and demonstrated courage, resilience and determination. Our surroundings were beautiful – breathtaking with glorious weather! As well as skiing, students also participated in: • Bumboarding • Night Ski […]
We had an amazing time when 21 of our brilliant dancers took part in the first OAT East Dance competition! Students were competing against 7 other Ormiston academies, which calculated to just over 100 students. Their 10 minute routine made audience members cry, cheer and have goose bumps! Also, a huge well done to our […]
We are proud to announce that in January we were awarded our platinum award from our work with Suffolk Family Carers and supporting our young carers in school. We work closely with Suffolk Family Carers, and especially those within our academy. We have raised school awareness of young carers through assemblies, form time sessions, social […]
The OAT East Dance Competition is taking place at Ormiston Denes Academy on Wednesday 12th February 2020 at 7.00pm! This is a competition for students from eight Ormiston academies based in East Anglia, and we are hosting! Family and friends are welcome to this free event, doors will open at 6.45pm.
The Ormiston Denes Academy annual Careers Fair is taking place on Friday 6th March! This gives our students a chance to investigate possible careers and opportunities available to them. Over 45 organisations are attending this fantastic event!
Congratulations to all students involved, for their months of hard work and effort, in preparing and delivering various workshops and events for the Dora Love competition. All of the students were so professional in their presentation in the final, competing against 17 other secondary schools for the prize, and speaking in front of hundreds of […]
A very proud moment for Ormiston Denes Academy when some of our Year 9 students performed Suitcase 1938, at Lowestoft Train Stationn, as part of the Holocaust Memorial Day Service. This marked the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau. The train station is important as it was one of the places that received hundreds of Jewish refugees […]
The results are now in and we are proud to say that we have won 4 of the 6 categories that we entered, with all of our students being highly commended! Dance – JessicaArt – OliviaFood Technology – AlfiePublic Speaking – Daisy Congratulations to all students from the Lowestoft schools that participated in the awards. […]