Future Leaders Trust to help find a new headteacher for Sewell Park College

John Catton, left, chairman of the interim executive board at Sewell Park College, with Jeremy Rowe,

John Catton, left, chairman of the interim executive board at Sewell Park College, with Jeremy Rowe, who has been seconded from Sir John Leman High in Beccles to lead the college during autum term, 2014. - Credit: Archant

A Norwich high school fighting to get out of special measures is turning to a education charity to provide its next headteacher.

Sewell Park College has told parents that interim headteacher Jeremy Rowe, who was seconded from Sir John Leman High School in Beccles in September, has decided to return to his home school at the end of this term.

Recently, Sewell Park has suffered falling rolls, poor GCSE results, the sudden resignation of headteacher Gavin Bellamy in August, and an 'inadequate' Ofsted rating in November.

Instead of advertising the vacancy on the open market, the school is working with the Talents Leaders programme of the Future Leaders Trust, which aims to match headteachers with schools in difficult circumstances, and last term announced the scheme was being extended to Norfolk.

John Catton, chairman of the interim executive board which replaced the school's governors last summer, said: 'We have decided to replace with a permanent headship appointment, because that reflects the confidence in the future of Sewell Park College.'

He added: 'The nice thing about the programme is that people sign up to it if they want the challenge. They say 'bring it on'. They are very happy to try to work hard to make a difference in a challenging context, like a school in special measures.'

He said programme would select two or three candidates, who could be teachers with previous headship experience or who want to be heads, to match with the school, which would then have a say on who was selected.

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The programme has said it is working for its new Norfolk heads to be in place by September 2015, but Mr Catton said it had not ruled out the new head joining the school after Easter.

He said the school had improved markedly during Mr Rowe's period at the helm, and said: 'We are pretty grateful to Jeremy Rowe because he has done a great job since he joined us. He has steadied the ship through some pretty choppy waters, to what is now a positive, productive, calm atmosphere in school. It's a different place.'

The government expects schools in special measures to become academies, and Mr Catton said the IEB was looking at one possible local sponsor, but was not ruling out a national academy chain, and dialogue with the Department for Education was continuing.

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