As most of you know Heidi Brown, who has built and led the team that has been responsible for the enormous turnaround of Bexhill Academy, retires at the end of May. This is a sad day.
In the six years since Heidi took over the role of Executive Principal the change at Bexhill has been enormous. This change has, I know, been recognised by the parents, staff, community and above all the students. The school was in “Special Measures”, student numbers at 1100, were falling, with only 80 students listing the school as their first-choice. This year, as a measure of what has been achieved under Heidi’s leadership, 314 students put Bexhill as their first-choice school for Year 7. Indeed, we will shortly reach our capacity of 1500. At the same time and for the first time in 30 years Bexhill Academy is now rated “Good” by Ofsted. These are not trivial achievements and there are many others, all the consequence of hard work and great leadership.
It is therefore with mixed feelings that I wish Heidi, on behalf of the Trust, a healthy and happy retirement. A sentiment I am sure you share. Her ambition is to be a wonderful grandmother, which I think we can all applaud.
At the same time, I am delighted to introduce you to Catherine Davies who takes over as Executive Principal. Catherine has an outstanding record for rapid school improvement, twice recognised as leading a school in the top ten most improved schools in the country. She has for many years been a Lead Ofsted Inspector and a lead on school improvement at several academy trusts. The phrases used repeatedly by her previous chairs and staff are inspirational, knowledgeable, committed to strong leadership, ambitious and sense of community. We believe that Bexhill is in safe hands.
We are lucky that Catherine chose this time to move to the south coast to be near her family. In June I intend to arrange, in these unusual times, a sequence of video calls to introduce Catherine to all parents. Parents will be keen to know that Vicky Norris-Wright, Head of Academy is looking forward to working with the new Executive Principal on the next chapter in the Academy’s journey.
Meanwhile please share with me our heartfelt thanks to Heidi for everything she has done for the Academy, students, and the community.
Chairman of the Attwood Academies Trust