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Jo Rainey

Executive Principal

George McMillan

Harris Academy Ockendon

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Academy Information

Who are we?

We are an 11-18 academy with a thriving Sixth Form and state-of-the-art building.  It is a school where we are as passionate about developing our staff as we are about developing our students.

Harris Academy Ockendon is a school that aims to become the most successful school in Essex, providing all our students with a first-class education and amazing life experiences.  This reflects our personal outlook on life and on education.  We only get one life and we should all use it to make a real difference in the world, to enjoy being the best version of ourselves and to be the best we can possibly be.  We always tell our students and staff to ‘enjoy being the best you can be’. At Harris Academy Ockendon ‘being the best’ is neither a destination nor a moment in time. It is a journey towards a consistent pattern of behaviour and attitudes that result in constant progress and achievement.

Our role here is to help students and staff dream bigger than they ever thought possible, and to make that dream come true through our culture of ambition, drive and integrity which beats at the heart of our school.   

Harris Academy Ockendon is new to the Federation and provides a fantastic opportunity for an experienced member of staff to hone their leadership craft and be part of a remarkable story.  The building and facilities are fantastic, and the staff are really on board and behind the vision of the school.

The Executive Principal is George McMillan, who led the transformation of Harris Academy Greenwich to being in the top 15% of schools in the country 6 years in a row.  Harris Greenwich is renowned as one of the best schools in the country in developing pedagogical excellence, leadership skills and leadership capability, but also as a place where work-life balance is genuinely valued.  One of their mantras is “zero burnout, ever.”

As an executive coach, Mr McMillan works with teams both inside and outside the Federation, helping them to become more resilient, sustainable and highly effective.  He believes that students should feel inspired at school and that teachers should be happy and highly motivated at work.  Having a safe and positive environment at school where everyone can have fun, work hard and thrive is a key part of the Harris Greenwich success story.  Mr McMillan is "fiercely proud" of the students and staff he leads.  He looks forward to working with the Principal, Ms Jo Rainey, to create a similarly inspiring story for the staff and students of Harris Ockendon.

The Harris Federation is a highly successful group of schools who serve many of the most deprived areas of London.  We are collaborative, enterprising and share a passion for turning lives around, yet each school is autonomous and free to set its own vision and strategy for how it does that. 

Each Harris school feels completely different in terms of culture and ethos.  Perhaps this is the school you’ve been looking for.

What are we passionate about?

“I have the great privilege of not only seeing young people grow and flourish, but providing opportunities for staff to step into their greatness in an environment that feels really safe and rewarding.  We will make Harris Ockendon a brilliant place to work and learn – naturally we are all passionately student focused and we touch lives every day, but that shouldn’t come at the sacrifice of staff.  I believe you can have it all in a school and experience tells me that happy teachers make great teachers so we work hard on that.  We don’t grade lessons, we don’t create fear in the workplace and we certainly don’t burn out our staff.  Indeed, we are incredibly mindful of our ‘life/work balance’ which I hope will be refreshing to hear for staff in other schools who feel constantly bashed and ground down by relentless pressure from above.  What we aim to do is engage, motivate, energise.  Teaching should be the best job in the world.  My job is to make that feel really true.”  George McMillan, Principal

Forget what you’ve heard about big, bad Federations. This is a school that really tries to keep staff morale high, that gives you a sense of purpose, a sense of autonomy, a sense of trust and continual support and challenge to achieve mastery.  Come pay us a visit and see for yourself.