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The Read School - Meet the Head

Dr John A Sweetman, BSc, PhD, PGCE, FRSB

John originates from the Wirral, where he was educated in both the independent and state sectors before reading Biological Sciences at the University College of Wales, Aberystwyth.  He continued in Aberystwyth as a research student investigating the role of the plant growth regulator ethylene in the response of plants to stressed environments.  He was awarded a PhD in 1990.  He had a spell working in the theatre and the arts before becoming an ecologist and tutor with the Field Studies Council in Suffolk.   His interest in working with young people developed alongside work with the United Nations Association in Spain, the YWCA in the USA and the Scout Association in Wales.

Working in schools in both the state and independent sector, John qualified as a teacher of science and biology in 1996 and also holds education related post-graduate qualifications from the University of Surrey and the University of Cambridge.  In addition to his teaching responsibilities he has held the positions of Head of Science; Head of Careers and Senior Housemaster alongside which he was for several years an examiner for GCSE Science and a lecturer with Roehampton University.  He developed an interest in meeting the needs of individual pupils and was an expert witness and advocate for families at the Special Needs and Disability Tribunal for many years.  John was appointed Deputy Head of the Read School in 2004 and became Headmaster in 2012. 

He is married to Janny, a qualified child and youth worker and native of the Netherlands whom he met whilst they both were working for the YWCA in New York.  They have two adult children, Richard, who is a lawyer and Naomi who is currently an undergraduate Sociology student. The family enjoy music, camping and walking in the hills with their dog, Bobby.   John is a member of the Society of Heads and in recognition of his prominent contribution to the advancement of Biological Sciences he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology in 2016.

He says:

"Our pupils are open, friendly and proud of their school.  Learning takes place in an atmosphere of cooperation in which each individual is respected and has the chance to succeed in all their endeavours.

We strive to challenge and inspire each individual pupil; stretching and developing their intelligence, creativity, physical prowess, cultural awareness and spiritual insight.  The pupils that will gain the most from the experience we offer will be those who wholeheartedly put the most in.  Our small class sizes ensure that no-one is overlooked, but importantly, do not diminish our high aspirations.  We expect our pupils to be actively involved in all facets of school life and we want them to achieve the very best that they can.

We hope our pupils will leave us as integrated, well-balanced individuals, capable of dealing with all aspects of life.  They will be confident in their abilities and will have developed the transferable skills needed in an increasingly complex adult world.  Pupils leaving Read will have the foundations that will enable them to continue their learning in to the future, as they embark on exciting journeys to find purpose in life and start to make their own way in the world.

I urge you to come and visit us and experience the unique quality of what we have to offer.  Once you meet our pupils you will be as impressed by them as I am proud of them.

Read School provides an education that is truly caring, inspiring and fun.

I look forward to meeting you and welcoming you to Read."