Sir Robert Woodard Academy given yet another principal

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SIR Robert Woodard Academy is to appoint its third principal in less than a year and a half.

Peter Midwinter will take over from Colette Singelton at the school, in Upper Boundstone Lane, on April 15.

Mrs Singleton took over from Carole Bailey, who left the position in December, 2011 a month before the school was placed into special measures in January, 2012, by Ofsted.

Since then, the school has been inspected by Ofsted three times, the most recent visit being in January.

The report from that inspection, released at the end of February, judged progress made at the school since it was placed in special measures as “good”.

However, the school’s progress since its previous inspection, in September last year, was only judged as “satisfactory”.

News of the appointment was broken to staff at the school in a letter sent by Jan Richardson, chairman of Woodard Academies Trust, which was forwarded to the Herald. In the letter, Mrs Richardson said Mrs Singleton had done a “fine job” but said the school needed a “permanent principal”.

Mrs Richardson said: “I write now to advise you that the Woodard Academies Trust is preparing to embark on the next important change, which will anchor the improvements which have occurred in the past 18 months and raise the level of progress required to remove the school out of special measures. In line with the recommendations suggested in the latest Ofsted monitoring visit, which took place in January, it is essential the Trust provides the academy with strong long-term leadership and a supportive academy council, with a stake in the local community. The interim principal, Mrs Colette Singleton, together with support from the interim academy Board and the Woodard Academy Trust central executive team, have done a fine job in improving the fortunes of the Sir Robert Woodard Academy but the time has now come to look to the longer term future.”

Mr Midwinter was previously the principal at St Augustine Academy, in Maidstone, and previously at Filsham Valley School, in St Leonards.

Mrs Richardson said Mr Midwinter would “build upon the excellent groundwork put in place by Mrs Singleton”.