‘Outstanding’ high school reveals new principal

Penny Bignell, pictured when she became headteacher at Sewell Park College. Mrs Bignell has been app

Penny Bignell, pictured when she became headteacher at Sewell Park College. Mrs Bignell has been appointed as principal at Thorpe St Andrew School and Sixth Form. Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

One of Norfolk's biggest schools has announced its new principal.

Penny Bignell. Picture: Sewell Park Academy

Penny Bignell. Picture: Sewell Park Academy - Credit: Archant

Penny Bignell is set to take over the top job at Thorpe St Andrew School and Sixth Form, which has more than 1,800 pupils and is currently rated outstanding by Ofsted.

It follows the departure in August of long-standing principal Ian Clayton, who led the school for 18 years, helped it to its top Ofsted grade in 2014 and oversaw its transfer to the Yare Education Trust in 2016.

Mrs Bignell is not a stranger to the Laundry Lane school, having worked there between 2003 and 2011 first as assistant principal then as vice principal. She will take up her new post from the summer term 2020, working part time until the start of the 2020/21 academic year.

Dr Linda Steynor, chairman of governors at Thorpe St Andrew School and Sixth Form, said: "This will provider her with the opportunity to review, analyse and plan, and enable the current leadership team with the full confidence of the governors to continue running the school on a daily basis for this academic year."

She added: "Governors of the school and members and trustees of the Yare Education Trust are very much looking forward to working with Mrs Bignell as the school enters this new phase in its development."

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Mrs Bignell will join Thorpe St Andrew School from the Right for Success Trust, where she is executive headteacher at Sewell Park Academy and Sprowston Community Academy.

The trust's chief executive Don Evans said: "Right for Success Trust is immensely grateful to Penny for the unswerving commitment she has given to improving Sewell Park and the invaluable support she has provided laterally to Sprowston.

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"Whilst we're sorry to see her go, we are pleased that her skills and experience are being retained in the Norfolk education system and we wish her and colleagues at Thorpe St Andrew every success for the future."

Mrs Bignell has had a long and varied career in Norfolk's education world.

Following her first stint at Thorpe St Andrew School, she was headteacher at Cromer High School and executive headteacher at Hethersett Academy before joining Sewell Park Academy as headteacher in 2016.

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