Matt Baker, 38, the former vice principal at St Benedict’s Catholic College, started at the end of February. He said: “We are moving forward and have the capacity to be the best school in Ipswich. There has been a process of healing but we have a very clear and cohesive vision. This school will only go one way. We have phenomenal students and highly-experienced staff. Form is temporary but excellence is permanent. We are in good shape to get back to being outstanding.”
He said he was aware of the “massive commitment” students make travelling from across the town: “I understand the importance of restoring our position in the community and restoring the good name that the school has.
“It is very important that we get that right, for us and the Diocese of East Anglia. We need a flagship Catholic school in Ipswich. Our most powerful thing is a very strong Catholic ethos, which means we are an incredibly close and caring community.”
He pledged to put “learning first” and support staff so they can be “slick and robust”, with a “broad and fun” curriculum and extra-curricular activities.
“We want students to be proud of their results but also leave as individuals with strong moral principles and values,” he said. “But I think we can be the best. We have got all the raw materials and ingredients. When Ofsted come back they’ll see the massive impacts, I promise you that.”
Following an undergraduate maths degree, Matt trained as a teacher at the University of East Anglia. On the course, he met his wife, Helen. She is also a teacher, and heavily involved in teacher-training programmes in Essex and London.
Over the next five years, he worked in two Norfolk schools, in various leadership roles and when an opportunity came up in Colchester, Helen’s home town, the couple relocated. Here, Matt joined the vibrant parish of St Teresa’s, Lexden. Three years later, their son was born. Subsequently, Matt has been a senior leader in two Essex schools and in 2012, his daughter was born.
Bishop Alan Hopes will be visited St Albans on March 16 and will celebrate Mass at the school.
Pictured above is Matt Baker, the new headteacher at St Alban’s Catholic High School in Ipswich, with students at the end of his first week.