Meet the Headteacher

Strong ambitions
for the future


Zara Tippey says she is delighted to be joining the community at the King Henry School and has already been impressed by its friendly and purposeful atmosphere. She comes to the School with extensive classroom and leadership experience from a range of educational environments, as well as a Master’s degree in Education.


She has strong ambitions for the future of the school and is looking forward to putting them into practice. Her aim is to ensure outstanding and inclusive education experiences, with high expectations, for every child who is part of the school community. She believes a significant part of her role is to spend as much time with the students and staff as possible, sharing in their learning opportunities and celebrating their many successes.

Zara is driven by a passion and determination to help every child in her care to become a confident and independent member of society. “Mr Deehan and his talented team have already made huge strides since King Henry School began working within The Odyssey Trust for Education last September” she says, “most noticeably in how students conduct themselves and in attitudes to learning. I intend to continue that good work by instilling a strong work ethic in our students and staff, a pride in their school, and in appropriate academic and vocational rigour”.

Zara is a firm advocate of comprehensive education and believes that schools should serve the communities in which they exist. As such, her vision for King Henry School is “that we are the hub of our local community, a first-choice for students within the area we serve. Through our values of being courteous and respectful, kind and supportive, courageous and resilient there will be no cap on ambition. Students in all year groups across the school will be offered a consistently high standard of education and will be given the potential to achieve great things”.

As the headteacher, she says she will “be relentless in her approach to improving outcomes for all students of all abilities and talent”. She believes “parents and students who have done so much to support the school deserve nothing less”.

She encourages parents and families to work in partnership with her. “Setting the right tone each and every day about going to school with enthusiasm and pride has a very positive impact on the students as they prepare for the day ahead”. An area she will focus on is continuing to improve students’ attendance by encouraging them to have a sense of purpose, positive self-worth and confidence in themselves as learners. “With support and commitment from parents and families, there are no limits to what students can achieve”.

Zara is clear that learning at King Henry School “is not just about academic success, it is also about building independent skills to solve problems, understanding how to explain an idea or argue a point of view effectively, it is also about making great friends and being supported when life seems more challenging. At King Henry, we offer a strong, core academic curriculum, and place equal value between academic study and specialist training as a valid educational path, equipping our young people with the skills they need and employers want”.

Zara will be encouraging various community and student initiatives which put students at the heart of the school community. One such initiative is the ‘Student Leadership Passport’, which provides students with the opportunity to take part in different roles within the school, “giving students a genuine channel through which they can express their ideas and expend their energies,” explains Zara. “This initiative embraces all year groups, all abilities, and all aspects of school life, whether it is as a Student Governor, charity leader, eco leader, subject leader, sports leader, arts leader, school council membership or form captain; everyone has the opportunity to express themselves and play a full part in the life of the school.”

“High expectations underpin everything,” she says. “If we get this right, if everyone from every part of the school community raises the bar on what they expect of themselves and each other, then we’ll get the outcomes we are after.”

Looking to the future Zara says the focus will be on happy, healthy, focused and committed staff. “I firmly believe that the single most effective way of improving a school is by investing in developing your staff. They set the expectations and agenda for students, who will follow if they believe in what they’re seeing and hearing, as will parents and the rest of the school community. This will make us better and give us concrete foundations for future success.” She will use the skills, professionalism and enthusiasm of the staff team, to ensure that the school becomes the best it can be and that every student gets an excellent experience in their school life. “The school now has the opportunity to carve a positive reputation at the heart of Erith and become an integral part of the area of Bexley”.

She also believes “students should leave with happy memories, plenty of friends and a sense of responsibility for their community. We plan to send every student out into the world with an understanding of the way it works and the empathy and drive to make it better, in whatever way they can”.

“King Henry School is at a very exciting stage in its growth and development and has an extremely promising future”, states Zara. She believes in building strong links with local Primary Schools; she and intends to visit the schools as soon as possible. “Meeting the children, staff and future parents is important to me. I recognise how hard it can sometimes be when making the decision as to which secondary school to send their child to. I want families to know what a great school we have, and encourage prospective parents and their youngsters to visit, to see for themselves what a positive place of learning King Henry School is for their children”.