A FORMER Barry Town football player has set out his goals as he takes on the leadership of one of the town’s Secondary schools.

David Blackwell was officially appointed as the head teacher of St Richard Gwyn RC (SRG) on February 28, this year but the covid-19 lockdown meant that September has been his first opportunity to fully embrace school life with all pupils returning to class.

Mr Blackwell, 41, of Rogerstone, specialised in maths and economics in his 13-year stint at St Joseph’s, in Newport, before becoming assistant head teacher – a role he repeated in Archbishop McGrath, Bridgend, before he took on the deputy head teacher position at SRG .


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The dad-of-three said:” I was so fortunate to join such a welcoming school and as soon as I started I knew that this was a school that I hoped I would be a part of for a long time, the family feel at SRG is fantastic.

“I had been acting head from October half term so was delighted to be permanently appointed after a rigorous recruitment process.

“I was ecstatic when I was appointed, however, the realisation also came that this was a huge responsibility and I just want to make sure I always do the very best by every child that joins our SRG community.

“I was excited to be appointed in a Catholic school, my faith is important to me and the values that have been instilled in me throughout my life are ones that I hope to pass on to our pupils during their time with us.

“The opportunity to shape the future vision for our school excites me.

“I am so fortunate to have a fantastic staff, teachers, support staff, site, cleaning and canteen staff, all who buy into the ethos of our school to provide the best opportunity for every child.

“I have a brilliant senior leadership team and I am lucky to have been able to appoint an excellent deputy head teacher in Matthew Dunn, who joined us on September 1.

“Matt is someone I have worked with before, he will bring academic excellence, foresight, honesty and humour to an already strong team.

"I'm really looking forward to working with him again.”

Mr Blackwell is, in his spare time, a keen sportsman.

He played semi-professional football for more than 10 years in the Welsh League, including a two year stint with Barry Town.

“I continued to play in the Welsh vets league up until covid disrupted things, he said.

“I also coach my oldest son in his football academy and have done this for the last eight years.

“I am a very keen golfer and play at Peterstone golf club, sadly unlikely to every make professional or even semi-professional in this sport, but a game that I love.

“And I love to spend time with my family and travel around the Devon/ Cornwall and France when we can.”

Mr Blackwell said he believes every child matters.

“It is our duty as teachers to provide them with the best opportunities not only academically but holistically in their time with us,” he said.

“They need to be given the best chance to achieve academic results that will open as many doors as possible for their future.

“Alongside this, we have a duty to guide them to develop as good people.

“Our Catholic ethos is a set of principles that is a blueprint for them to be good role models in the world they live in.

“Academic performance is paramount but only if this is done alongside developing them as people.

“They need to be honest, empathetic and kind people that leave us with resilience and an inner passion to strive for success in anything that they do in their futures.

“I know that with the support of our excellent staff, the non-negotiation of our underlying principles, we can achieve anything that we set our minds to as individuals.

“My job is to ensure that the staff or SRG feel empowered enough to be able to successfully influence the futures of our pupils

“They need to feel happy, safe and valued.

“The same applies our pupils.

“I am confident that if they enjoy school, feel safe and listened to, as well as having fair boundaries and expectations, they will be a success in their time with us.”

He added: “SRG is a caring community.

“We will do all that we can to give your children the best chance in life.

“We will build their resilience and give them morals they can live by whilst maintaining academic excellence as our results have shown over recent years in particular.

“We cannot do this without your support, this is key to our success.

“We want families to be part of our community, support us even when we have to make tough decisions and believe in our passion to ensure that every child matters, every child will be given the best options to give them the stepping stones to a successful future.

“SRG is the Faith Secondary school option for families across the Vale.

“This is the uniqueness of or school and something I am very proud of.

“We want to maintain this ethos in all that we do, and for those who come to us without a Faith background, they soon realise that this is simply about being a good person whilst still pursing excellence.

“I look forward to hopefully spending many happy years working with pupils and families across the Vale.

“I am proud to be head teacher of such a fantastic school and I would welcome anybody who would like to come and visit and see what we are all about, once covid restrictions allow.”