Tributes paid to 'inspirational' headteacher and academy boss
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A headteacher who 'always put his students first' and helped form a Norfolk academy trust has died.
Gerard Batty, known to those close to him at Gerry, was the founding chief executive of the Wensum Trust, which is now responsible for 11 schools across the county.
He retired in August 2019 after three years at the helm.
During his teaching career, he became ingrained in Hellesdon community life with spells in charge at both Hellesdon High School and Firside Junior.
And under his leadership, the trust helped lift Acle Academy out of special measures having been placed there by watchdog Ofsted.
Now, warm tributes have been paid to him after he died last week at the age of 60.
Daniel Thrower, his successor at the Wensum Trust, said: "Gerry was a passionate teacher and inspirational man. He always put his students first and there are so many people, young and old, whose lives he has positively influenced.
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"He was a caring but strong leader, who achieved great things for Norfolk’s education system.
"The terrible sadness of his passing is felt by all his former colleagues and everybody at The Wensum Trust."
Mike Earl, headteacher at Hellesdon High School, added: "From the very start of his career, Gerry had a vision of what a school should be and anyone who worked with him needed to be prepared for the journey ahead.
"At the core of this vision was something he would regularly remind us of – if it wasn’t good enough for our own children, then it wasn’t good enough for our students.
"I believe Gerry lived by this mantra and that, in a way, this epitomised his belief in family, faith and education. It was what drove him to ensure that every single student had an equal opportunity, no matter where their journey began."
A spokesman for the St John the Baptist Catholic MAT, for which he was a director, said: "Gerry was passionate about education, and improving the life chances of all children, particularly the disadvantaged.
"He was graced with good humour and passion, and will be greatly missed."
Mr Batty also served as deputy headteacher at Notre Dame High School in the city and at Acle High School, while later becoming an Ofsted inspector.