I am Gillian Middlemas, and I am very proud to be Headteacher of Whitworth Community High School. I was originally an English teacher, held various pastoral and academic leadership roles in schools in Rochdale and Oldham, before joining Haslingden High School in 2005 as Deputy Headteacher. I first came to the school in May 2013 on a temporary secondment, at the request of the local authority, and as part of my school’s commitment to supporting educational developments locally. Having enjoyed leading Whitworth Community High School through an exciting and challenging period, I became the permanent postholder at Easter 2014.
My vision is for us to be an outstanding school, and in December 2014 we made a great step in that direction by achieving an Ofsted ‘Good’ rating for all aspects of our work. Since then, we have achieved the school’s best ever GCSE exam results, and our policies and practices to keep students safe were validated as ‘exemplary’ by Ofsted in December 2015.
My educational philosophy is simple: we have a moral imperative to improve the life chances of all our students and to give them opportunities and experiences which will change their lives and enable them to go on to better the lives of others. I want our young people to be proud of where they come from – of their school and their community - and to be ambitious and aspirational in all they do.
I joined Whitworth Community High School in 2014 as Assistant Headteacher with responsibility for Teaching and Learning after having previously worked in schools in Rochdale, Oldham and Manchester. I was promoted to my substantive role of Deputy Headteacher in September 2018. In addition to my responsibility to deputise for the Headteacher my remit is to ensure that the Quality of Education at WCHS is the best that it can possibly be so that learning opportunities for students are maximised in all lessons. I also take the lead with my colleagues on the Senior Leadership Team to ensure that behaviour is good and attitudes to learning are positive so that students can get on with their studies and develop as young people.
I work closely with the Directors of Learning to ensure that Whitworth students receive a high-quality experience within the classroom supported by a rigorous assessment plan based on the current GCSE (or equivalent) specifications. I ensure that students are supported in their learning through focused and meaningful feedback on their work. I also ensure that Home Learning forms a meaningful and integral part of every students' school career; thus boosting their learning and preparing them for their education and careers beyond school. I am proud to be responsible Quality of Education at WCHS, which has developed hugely over recent years. The quality of provision is recognised as good by OFSTED, which matched our own self-evaluation. I share the Headteacher's outstanding ambitions for WCHS which we will achieve through regular monitoring, targeted staff support and our unique continued professional development calendar, underpinned by our shared approach set out in the Teaching and Learning Protocol.
In addition to my deputising role, I am currently working as Associate Headteacher. This means that I undertake many of day-to-day leadership responsibilities of the Headteacher whilst her focus is temporarily diverted to the exciting new school building project!
Assistant Headteacher (Literacy & Intervention)
My name is Jane Howarth and I joined Whitworth Community High School six years ago, having moved from my previous role as Head of English at Wardle Academy. This is a post that brings many exciting and varied challenges whilst working closely with other senior colleagues. In addition to my teaching commitment and line management of English, part of my remit is to ensure that literacy and numeracy skills are embedded across the curriculum. Poor literacy skills will act as a barrier to learning and will, therefore, impact negatively on what students can do and how they see themselves. Crucially, at Whitworth Community High School we believe that literate students will ultimately emerge as confident and articulate communicators, fully prepared to enter the adult world, whether to continue their academic studies or to enter the world of work. I am proud of the fact that Whitworth students are confident communicators and our last Ofsted report stated that “Students’ literacy and numeracy skills are developed across a range of subjects; consequently, students are numerate, literate and increasingly well-read.”
Another part of my role is organising and developing intervention strategies, primarily for Year 11 students in order to maximise our students’ potential to achieve the very best results they can. At Whitworth, I am proud to belong to a team of extremely committed staff (teachers and associate staff) who are keen to give of their time for our students. We run classes over every half-term and at Easter, as well as before, after and during lunch time, which shows our commitment to develop the potential of all our students so they achieve excellence.
Assistant Headteacher (Personal Development, Behaviour and Welfare)
My name is Andy Kewin and I am Assistant Headteacher at Whitworth Community High School. My responsibilities include the personal development, behaviour and welfare of our pupils. I am fortunate enough to track pupils holistically and my aim is to make sure every child has the best school experience they can.
I moved to Whitworth having spent years working at Fulwood Academy in Preston. My roles there were varied: I developed and guided two separate departments, designing schemes of work to fit the ever-changing curriculum and I eventually moved towards a whole-school pastoral role. I am grateful to have been given the opportunity to bring my experience to our school. The needs and aspirations of our pupils are at the forefront of every decision that is made at Whitworth, and I am proud to be able build upon the foundations laid down by other hard-working members of staff.
Behaviour for learning is my priority. Like every teacher at our school, I strive to ensure that every pupil in our community is happy, thriving and achieving the results they deserve.
My name is Gaynor Mellor, I have been the Business Manager at Whitworth Community High School since August 2000. Prior to being appointed I worked as a Bursar at two schools in Rochdale and as a Finance Officer for Rossendale Borough Council and Rochdale MBC.
My role within school encompasses the majority of non-teaching areas, including Finance, Personnel and Health and Safety.
I am proud to be an active member of the Senior Leadership Team, and as part of a strong and committed staff who believe strongly that education has the power to provide opportunities and life chances, enabling all students to ‘Climb Higher.’
Associate School Leader & Director of Learning for Science
I am Paul Bland and I am an Associate School Leader as well as Director of Learning for Science. My responsibilities include data, timetabling and reporting. This ensures that students are on the courses that are right for them and they make the best possible progress. It is also my job to ensure that parents and carers are kept informed about the progress that their children are making. I love the variety and rewards that come from teaching and consider my move into teaching as one of the best decisions that I have ever made. I particularly like the hands on learning that science lessons can include, and strive to pass on my enthusiasm to our students.
Prior to joining Whitworth I have been Head of Chemistry and Professional mentor in local schools. Before entering education, I worked throughout the UK for a speciality chemical company and was the production manager in a paper mill. I have been a primary school governor for twelve years, most recently as chair of governors.
Growing up in Bacup and having attended the same primary school as some of our students gives me a great affinity for them and for Whitworth High School.
Associate School Leader, Transition lead, Y7 Progress Leader & Pupil Premium Lead
My name is Jenny Cawley and I am an Associate School Leader at Whitworth Community High School, along with being the Transition lead, Y7 Progress Leader and Pupil Premium Lead. I joined the school as Teacher in Charge of Technology 9 years ago from what was Fearns Community Sports College. I am fortunate to work with a wonderful group of professionals who collectively aim for the same goal of ensuring our students climb higher.
My role as Transition lead and Y7 Progress Leader involves me working with students, parents, WCHS staff, staff members from other schools and outside agencies to ensure our students have the best chance at success, both throughout their school life and future career. It is important to support the young people during the very important transition through to high school, which can ultimately shape the future that students enjoy in our school, and I am always proud of the collective effort of our team.
Alongside these roles, I am responsible for the Student Ambassadors and School Council who make a massive contribution to student voice and help drive our school forward. This is going to be even more important over the coming year as they will have the opportunity to oversee and be involved in decisions regarding our new school build.
If you would like to discuss any aspect of your child's transition here at our school, please do not hesitate to get in touch using the details provided on this website.