SHE’S already popular - but now a south Essex headteacher is officially the best secondary head in the county.
Dr Margaret Wilson of King John School in Thundersley was named headteacher of the year in a secondary school at the inaugural Essex Teaching Awards.
Dr Wilson was nominated for the award by the governing body, their entry highlighting her “gifted and visionary” leadership of the school.
Under her leadership King John School was graded as outstanding in every category by an Ofsted inspection in September 2013.
Dr Wilson said: “I was absolutely delighted because there are a number of outstanding head teachers in Essex.
“I was very surprised, but the whole staff here are outstanding and that’s down to the way they all work together, I was surprised to be singled out.”
Dr Wilson was also honoured for her efforts in working with Chase High School in Southend to mentor their headteacher Victoria Overy.
Chase High School was told by Ofsted in 2013 that it had serious weaknesses and that not enough had been done to improve students’ achievements since its ‘satisfactory’ rating in 2011.
Dr Wilson is helping Chase to improve in any areas they identify.
Dr Wilson wasn’t the only south Essex teacher to be successful at the Essex County Council awards, held at the Lord Ashcroft Business School, at Anglia Ruskin University, on Wednesday evening.
The primary school teacher award went to Maria Chase, of Grove Wood Primary in Rayleigh, and Corrine Barnett was named teaching assistant of the year for her work at The Fitzwimarc School in Rayleigh.
Mrs Chase was nominated by her headteacher Richard Green, who highlighted her relentless commitment to ensure all children do well and said she embodied everything that is good about primary teachers.
Teaching assistant Mrs Barnett was also nominated by her headteacher, Ken Newcombe, who praised her work developing learning support in PE for special educational needs pupils.
Mrs Barnett, 44, said: “I was completely overwhelmed by the award, I went along feeling honoured to just be nominated.
“The job of a teaching assistant is what you make of it. The reward for me is seeing kids achieving something they thought they couldn’t do.”
What do the King John School pupils think of their headteacher's award?
Emily George, 15, of Fairmead Avenue, Hadleigh, is Head Girl at the school and has said Dr Wilson’s door is always open to the pupils.
“I know the headteacher quite well and I am really pleased for her. She is very warm and approachable which is always a big plus for students and she always wants to be involved.
“I have a younger sister a few years below me and she has only positive things to say about the head as well.
“I am planning to stay on after my A-levels and go to university. I have been given a very thorough grounding and I owe a lot of that to Dr Wilson’s hard work.”
Zak Newton, 16, of High Road, Benfleet, is a senior prefect and praised Dr Wilson for being awarded the honour.
“She is always a friendly face down the other end of the corridor and it is really comforting to know we have a headteacher who always has time for her pupils.
“She has never had a harsh tongue and it is nice to see the school is continuing to do well. She has always put so much into King John and is a deserving recipient of this award.
“This school is getting better and better and that is fantastic news for current pupils and new pupils.”
Daisy Hayes, 16, of Deerhurst, Thundersley, is a prefect and said Dr Wilson was a ‘comfortable and friendly’ headteacher.
“It’s a really warm and welcoming working environment which is hugely important for the pupils.
“She really cares about what we want as well. I spoke to her about keeping an art club that was under risk and she made sure it stayed. Quite a few people still use it and it showed that she listens to the pupils and cares about what we want.
“She is always looking to introduce new ideas and that is exactly what the pupils want.”
Bronnie Jenkins, 15, of Vicarage Hill, Benfleet, is a senior prefect and said the head always makes time for the pupils at the school.
“She’s always made the school a friendly and comfortable place to be and all the pupils have a real sense of belonging. Dr Wilson is very involved in not only the school, but the pupils in the school which is a really refreshing approach.
“The headteacher runs the school in a very efficient way and is always looking for the best way to help students advance. She wants to give us the best chance and she has done that.”
Henry Taylor, 16, of Church Road, Hadleigh, is head boy and praised the head for always being there for her pupils.
“I have had a great deal of interaction with the headteacher over the years and because of that I feel I know her quite well and it is clear for anyone who knows her that she cares a great deal about King John.
“She is a figure head at the school and has used the school’s success to help other schools who can benefit from her guidance. It is a great school and is getting better.”