THE headteacher at a new Northumberland academy is to step down. Stephen Quinlan is retiring from his post at Berwick Academy at the end of the summer term.
Governors at the site have spent two days interviewing potential replacements and hope to make an appointment at the end of the week.
Mr Quinlan was appointed to the post in 2001.
He courted controversy in 2009 when he and governors at the then Berwick Community High School appointed a teacher who had been sacked from his previous post for looking at pornography on school computers and phoning sex lines while at work.
The appointment of Darren Adamson, formerly of Houghton Kepier School in Houghton-le-Spring, near Sunderland, as a supply, then full-time, teacher was at the time questioned by one parent and the group Parents Outloud.
Adamson was later suspended from his job and then sacked after it emerged he had been arrested for drink driving and stealing wine from a shop, something for which he was jailed.
Mr Quinlan has led the conversion of the former high school to an academy, a move which when announced sparked some opposition from middle schools in the area and parents.
However, the change was approved by the Government and went through at the start of the current school year.
Mr Quinlan and his chairman of governors later offered to resign their posts ahead of an Ofsted report expected to be poor. However, their offers were turned down by the other governors.
Earlier this year, it was announced that a new hospital for Berwick would be built on fields at the academy, in return for health bosses providing new sports facilities for its students and the general public.
Mr Quinlan did not want to comment on his departure. Academy governor Anne-Marie Trevelyan revealed he would be retiring at the end of the school year.
She said Mr Quinlan had told governors at the end of the last academic year that he would do one more, with him being “well over 50” and having overseen the academy switch.
Ms Trevelyan insisted his departure was not connected to Mr Quinlan’s offer to resign over the Ofsted findings. She said: “We are very sad to lose him. He has been a superb head. He has done some amazing things for the school.”
The post was advertised with 12 applications received, five of whom were shortlisted. Interviews have been conducted this week by a panel of governors.
An appointment – which would have to be ratified by the full body – could be made by the end of the week.