Welcome to Our Lady and St. Michael's R.C. Primary School

Ali (Aleksander) Szwagrzak

I taught at a variety of schools – mainly catholic, and spent my first 10 years teaching in inner city London in both secondary and then primary schools. I was appointed head teacher at St John’s RC Primary School in Hertfordshire in 1999 and then Head teacher at St Joseph’s RC Primary School Buckinghamshire in 2005. I also did two secondments to schools in Special Measures during this time, before being seconded in January 2010 to the county school Improvement Service as a School Improvement Adviser then Manager in 2012 whilst also inspecting schools for Ofsted.

 Having decided to move to the Wye Valley in Wales I came back into teaching in 2014 and was appointed to the headship at St Marys RCP School at Chepstow in Monmouthshire at Easter 2014. In 2015 our school came through an Estyn inspection successfully and I was asked to support other Catholic schools including Our Lady’s & St Michaels Abergavenny through 2016 and into this school year. Due to Mrs McCarthy’s recent illness the governors, the Archdiocese and Monmouthshire asked me to act as head teacher through the summer term to support this school through the re-inspection process expected some time later this term having seen and supported this staff through the enormous hard work on improving the school I agreed and so find myself here on a temporary but full time basis.

I am a fluent Polish speaker and have also completed the Welsh Cwrs Mynneddiad which I’m pleased to say I passed, though perhaps not quite fluent yet! My interests include working in the Polish Scouting Movement, walking my dogs in the beautiful Wye Valley but also riding motorcycles for long and short adventures, eg. last summer across France, the Pyrenees and Northern Spain, but also a short trip up to the Isle of Man Classic TT. This year I plan to ride down to Morocco to see Marakesch and the Atlas mountains.

My greatest career ambition is to help move those schools I’m involved with from Estyn Monitoring to Excellence - with the help of a strong staff team St Marys are on the brink of “Green” status, and I believe that Our Lady’s & St Michaels are on a very similar trajectory we will get there through a mutually shared strong, warm and cohesive family approach where all staff and pupils value each-others contributions to the learning journey of our faith community.

Ali Szwagrzak

Acting Head Teacher


Ali Szwagrzak - Acting Head Teacher
Ali Szwagrzak - Acting Head Teacher
Our Lady’s & St Michael’s Abergavenny

Breaking News - Headteacher Appointment

Dear Parent / Guardian

 Re: Appointment of Head teacher

 Following a recent recruitment campaign I pleased to inform you that we have appointed Mr V Evans to the role of Head Teacher. Mr Evans is currently the Deputy Head of St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Primary School in Chepstow. I am sure you will join me in welcoming Mr Evans as Head of our school in September as we continue on our journey to become a leading school in our area.                                               

Following the previous Head Teacher’s resignation the school has been led by Miss McCarthy, our Deputy Head as Acting Head Teacher with Mrs Box as the Acting Deputy Head Teacher. In that time the school has improved significantly and I again like to thank them for the hard work that they have undertaken during this period.

As previously advised, due to Miss McCarthy’s absence, for the Summer Term Mr A Szwagrzak will continue to be employed as Acting Head Teacher. It is hoped that Miss McCarthy will be well enough to return to work later this term in her role as Deputy Head.

 Yours faithfully


 Paul Ward

Chair of Governors