A Romford secondary school has a new headteacher - and he aims to make education "fun and enjoyable".

Bower Park Academy’s new principal, Eddie Aylett, has known the school since he was just a “nipper”.

“Actually,” he says, “I taught some of our current students’ parents, so the children are really close to my heart.”

Mr Aylett, a self-confessed “local lad” from Romford, started at the school 13 years ago as a classroom teacher.

Earlier this month he was chosen to run the academy, which is now graded “good” by Ofsted.

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His promotion was met with “overwhelming support” from teachers and children.

“It was lovely,” Mr Aylett said, ”with a lot of people telling me ‘we’re on your team’.”

It is with this sense of teamwork and community that Bower Park’s new principal wants to tackle what he says is the school’s biggest remaining issue: the impact of Covid-19.

“It was unprecedented what we went through,” he said. “We need to make sure people are aware there are ongoing effects from Covid.

"Students were online, and when they’re just sat behind a computer screen they become quite passive. And now, we’re definitely dealing with an increase in mental health issues.”

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Mr Aylett emphasised the need to make education “fun and enjoyable” in order to tackle these difficulties.

As a result, he says the school has opened up more extra-curricular clubs than ever before, from sports and dance to puzzle and chess clubs. 

Another big challenge Mr Aylett points to is the national issue of teacher recruitment and retention.

If he had five minutes alone with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, he said he would not be asking for compulsory maths lessons for sixth formers but “making sure more teachers are going into the profession”.

But Mr Aylett believes Bower Park is in a “very good place” in this regard, compared to many other schools.

He thinks one of the school’s biggest assets is the staff intimately knowing every one of their “lovely students” – making it easier to work together as a unit.

So, whilst Bower Park may face many of the same obstacles other schools currently do, Mr Aylett is optimistic that, under his leadership, the school will become “a number one choice for the community”.

“In five years time,” he said, “I want this to be a school where every single teacher and child really enjoys coming here – enabling them to be whatever they want to be.”