New headteacher hopes to make positive change at Scarborough academy

New headteacher Michelle Hockham and deputy head teacher Amanda Caton with pupils at Woodlands Academy.
New headteacher Michelle Hockham and deputy head teacher Amanda Caton with pupils at Woodlands Academy.

A new headteacher at Woodlands Academy is hoping to make a positive change by creating employment opportunities and developing life skills of youngsters.

Michelle Hockham joined the academy on Woodlands Drive this month after moving from Lincolnshire to Scarborough for the role.

The 47-year-old was previously headteacher for seven years at a similar school and wants to “build on the great things that are already in place and working” at Woodlands.

She said: “It’s already a good school so I want to develop more of the life skills opportunities for our youngsters so that then they are prepared for adult life and next steps when they leave school.

“It’s looking at the whole child so as well as having standard academic curriculum it’s looking at life and independence skills, then employment opportunities that they may go into in their next steps.”

Woodlands Academy is a special needs school for pupils aged 2 to 16 with a wide range of additional needs including moderate or severe learning difficulties, speech and language difficulties, autism and some medical difficulties.

Mrs Hockham has replaced acting headteacher Amanda Caton who led the academy for 18 months. Previously, Annette Fearn was headteacher for 12 years and “was a big part of Woodlands”.

She plans to develop links with the local community for on and off site education.

“We are talking about starting The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award and we have students, who are doing diplomas in catering, that are keen to set up a cafe.

“We are also looking at how we are using our outdoor area. We already have horticulture opportunities but it would be nice to develop an animal unit so that children have roles and responsibilities with animals which would support the farming community.”

The academy is also looking to recruit new community governors who have a “passion for education” in their “phase of change”.

The new head hopes to increase the number of governors from four to 12 to provide “equal support and challenge” for decisions.