Computer skills are ‘vital’ says new head

Miss Jo Kelly, new head teacher at Glebe Primary School, Southwick PICTURE: DEREK MARTIN D14492746a
Miss Jo Kelly, new head teacher at Glebe Primary School, Southwick PICTURE: DEREK MARTIN D14492746a

ONE term into the role and the new head teacher at Glebe Primary School in Southwick feels like she has always been there.

Miss Jo Kelly took over the role in September, following the retirement of the previous head, Mrs Ann Walton. Miss Kelly said she had done ‘a brilliant job’ during her seven years at the school, seeing it through the big age of transfer changes.

She has spent her first term learning about the highly-regarded school, in Church Lane, and working out where she wants to take it.

“I have got a strong vision for Glebe,” Miss Kelly explained. “We need to make sure children are able to read, write and be numerate, and to be computer literate, so they are ready for work in the 21st century.

“We don’t know what the jobs are going to be when they leave school because the world is changing.

“We have to try to give them the skills to find out and challenge themselves.

“Our job is to make sure they know about the wider world. We are a global community and making sure our children are aware of that is important.”

Miss Kelly, who lives in Hove, said she ‘absolutely loves it’ at Glebe and has slotted right in.

She came from Bolnore Village Primary School, a small school which she helped to set up.

The school started with just one class in 2009. “We built it up from nothing,” she said. “The head and I worked really closely in the first year to set up the school.

“We went from one to four classes very quickly so almost from the time we started, we needed an extension.

“I dealt with a lot of the building work and the growing numbers. Building something from scratch was really exciting.”

She said she would have liked to stay to see the first children go right through the school, but the Glebe job came up and she felt it was the right job for her.

“This school has a real buzz and I wanted to be part of that and take that forward to the next level,” she explained.

“My job is to help children to find the light in themselves, that little thing that switches them on. There is something in everybody. I think we do that really well here.”

Her first school was Balfour Primary School in Brighton for three years, then she moved to West Dean with a promotion for another three years, before taking the deputy head role at Bolnore.

“I came late into the profession,” she explained. “I did a number of different jobs and had my family before going into teaching.

“I started helping in my son’s class and the deputy head suggested doing teaching. My mum was a teacher and I wanted to be one when I was a child but I fought it for a while.”

Having asked the children at Glebe what they enjoy most about the school, many mentioned the Victorian Day and Evacuee Day.

Miss Kelly said: “The children really value the dressing up days and the ‘real history days’ because it gives them the impression of what it was really like back then.”

She wants to prepare the children for the future as well as teaching them about the past, though, and said computing skills were one of her main focus points.

“I want to really make sure they are confident with computers. It is almost as important as reading and writing.”