New headteacher appointed at Kings Priory School in Tynemouth

Troubled educational trust The Woodard Academies Trust has appointed a new head at Kings Priory School, in Tynemouth

Gill Hewlett, new principal at Kings Priory at Tynemouth
Gill Hewlett, new principal at Kings Priory at Tynemouth

An academy set up with the merger of private and state schools has appointed a new leader after its former head resigned just one term into the job.

Kings Priory School, in Tynemouth, has chosen acting head Gill Hewlett to permanently replace David Dawes, who stood down as principal on December 31.

Under Mr Dawes’ leadership, teachers threatened strike action over their working conditions and there were said to have been frequent clashes with parents over his religious focus and the school’s lack of special needs provision.

The school, which caters for children aged four to 18, opened in September and after the previously fee paying King’s School merged with nearby state primary, Priory.

Since January, the academy has been led by Mrs Hewlett and Sue Melbourne – the current head of primary and middle schools.

Mrs Hewlett, who has held senior positions in schools across England for 13 years, led the Government’s Extended School strategy for local authorities.

Following a move to Cheltenham in 2008, Mrs Hewlett launched her own business offering her services as an associate principal in newly formed academies.

Mrs Hewlett’s appointment was announced by the Woodard Academies Trust, the educational charity which has overseen the schools’ merger.

Jan Richardson, chair of the Woodard Academies Trust, said: “We are delighted by how well Gill and Sue, in their roles as head of schools, have been working and the positive difference this has made to the school environment.

“The trust has been assessing carefully what is best for the academy and working with Gill and Sue to agree a way forward. Sue has expressed a wish to concentrate her energies on continuing to lead the primary and middle schools and following due process Gill has been appointed as principal from April 2014.

“Gill has already proved in her role as acting head of senior school that she shares the same values on which Kings Priory School is based.

“We want to ensure that young people are nurtured, valued and known in the Woodard tradition, and we all understand that learning is the core business of the school.”

Mrs Hewlett, who is a published author and co-author of a number of Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4 mathematics text books, said: “It’s an honour to have been chosen to lead Kings Priory School.

“It is unique in that it is built on two very successful schools and we have already made great progress in fulfilling the sponsor’s vision.

“As a family school, we benefit greatly from being part of the Woodard family.”


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