03 June 2021

Duncan Reaves appointed Acting Head Teacher of Meiklemill School

Duncan Reaves has been confirmed as acting head teacher of Meiklemill Primary School for 23 months. 

He was head teacher at Slains Primary School previously and took up his current post as his predecessor Jonathan Cordiner has been appointed acting Quality Improvement Officer.

Speaking about his initial priorities in his new post, Mr Reaves said: “I want to get to know the staff and the school. I am keen to do everything I can to help children succeed both here, as they move on to secondary school and ultimately in the wider world of work. You want every child to have a great experience at school and for staff to feel confident as they support children to achieve success in their learning.”

Initially, Mr Reaves worked as a quantity surveyor for Robertson Construction. However, after teaching youth groups at his church, he decided to change career as he wanted to shape children’s lives and saw teaching as a way of achieving this aim. He undertook a PGCE qualification in 2006, and then carried out his probationary year at Kintore Primary School. Mr Reaves went on to be primary class teacher at Towie, Tullynessle, Udny Green and Methlick. His first leadership role was acting head teacher at Slains Primary School to which he was than appointed permanently, before taking up his current position.

Discussing the differences between the roles of class teacher and head teacher, Mr Reaves said: “First and foremost you don’t have the same contact with the children as a head teacher. As a teacher you know every child both in terms of their academic performance and as an individual. As a newly appointed head teacher, at the moment, I probably know 20% of the children’s names. In a management role there is the opportunity to shape the ethos of the school, where you want it to go. It is about developing relationships with families, parents and carers so they feel supported too. Consideration needs to be given to developing staff through challenging them to learn new skills but at the same time giving them confidence through allowing them to flourish by working in areas which are already strengths.”

He thanked Quality Improvement Officer, Danica Smith, for her support and encouragement over recent years as he has developed in his role as Head Teacher at Slains and Jonathan Cordiner, his predecessor at Meiklemill, for his advice and guidance as he settles into the position of acting head teacher of Meiklemill Primary School. Duncan acknowledged: “It is essential to have the support of your colleagues to succeed in any role in life, and this is particularly true where you are responsible for educating children and young people to be future contributors to society.”

Cllr Gillian Owen, Aberdeenshire Council’s Education and Children’s Services Committee chair, said: “Many congratulations Duncan on your appointment as head teacher. It is pleasing to see him build on the success of his predecessor and continue to provide friendly, supportive and committed leadership which will see Meiklemill Primary go from strength to strength.”

Committee vice chair Cllr Rosemary Bruce added: “I too would like to say ‘well done’ to Duncan on his appointment as head teacher. It is great to see him turning his aspiration of improving children’s lives into a reality.”