A free school whose principal left the role just a year after joining has appointed her successor.

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Alison Tilbrook, deputy headteacher at Iceni Academy in Methwold, is due to join IES Breckland Free School in Brandon on Monday.

She said: “This is a new beginning for the school and a new beginning for me. I am very passionate about teaching and learning and this school is crying out for someone who can drive teaching and learning - that is where it has to be at the top of its game.”

She said one of her first jobs will be to bring in new staff.

She said: “All teachers are going to be of the highest quality and give the students education they deserve. I need people who I know are going to do the best job for the students.”

Previous principal of IES Breckland, Sherry Zand, left her role in November, having been in charge since its opening in September 2012.

Her departure came six weeks after a controversial move to dispense with six members of staff, including three on temporary contracts and three on probationary periods.

Peter John Fyles, CEO of International English Schools, the education provider who run IES Breckland, had taken on the principal’s position on an interim basis after Ms Zand’s departure.

Mr Fyles was in charge when Ofsted inspectors visited the school last week, with a report expected within the next six weeks.

Mrs Tilbrook said goodbye to students and staff at Iceni Academy today, with students presenting her with a cake and presents in recognition of her 35 years of service.

She said she loved the school and was leaving with “mixed feelings”.

“I started here when I was 20 and if you cut my arm it would look like a stick of rock with Methwold through the middle,” she said.

“It’s a school that’s always done well and I hope it continues to do well.”

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