THE new headteacher of a private school says his aim is to keep it thriving within the community.

Simon Smith, who has 21 years in the teaching profession, has taken charge at Rydal Penrhos in Colwyn Bay, replacing acting head Roger McDuff, who stepped into the role after Patrick Lee-Browne resigned in December 2015.

The married father of two officially began his role at the start of term on January 9.
He told the Pioneer: “The joy of my first two weeks was just spending time meeting people. It’s been a really good introduction to Rydal Penrhos community life.”

The 42-year-old was previously deputy head academic at Haileybury, a prestigious independent school in Hertfordshire.

Comparing Haileybury with Rydal, Mr Smith said: “I don’t think there is anything really different. Of course every pupil is individual and I have been as impressed with the pupils and staff here as in any other school.

"I was struck by the fact that we are part of Colwyn Bay life and I’ve said I want us to be a school that is very much part of the community. The town helping us as a school and the school helping the town is a relationship that I really want to develop and build.” 

It is Mr Smith’s first headteacher role but he experience as a senior boarding house tutor at Haileybury and sat on governor panels.

He said: “I hope my background has given me all those experiences to be able to work with the [Rydal Penrhos] senior leadership team and move the school forward.

“I don’t think anything truly prepares you for headship. It’s more a case of you build the bridge as you walk along it.” 

The University of York graduate has many aims for the school.

“First and foremost, I loved school and that is my priority – that every pupil loves their school and discovers their talents,” he said. “I want Rydal Penrhos to be the most admired school of its type.”