New leaders at Colchester Academy say there has been a ‘smooth transition’

Fiona Pierson, left, new headteacher of Colchester Academy with Linda Bamford, executive headteacher

Fiona Pierson, left, new headteacher of Colchester Academy with Linda Bamford, executive headteacher from the Bright Tribe Trust - Credit: Archant

The new leaders of a north Essex secondary school have vowed to keep improving the education it offers.

Bright Tribe took over as sponsor of the Colchester Academy from April 1, prompting principal Barry Hersom to step down to allow a fresh start at the school.

Fiona Pierson, a vice-principal at the school for three years, has been made headteacher of the Hawthorn Avenue school, and is being supported by a Bright Tribe executive headteacher Linda Bamford.

Mrs Pierson said: “Mr Hersom did a lot of good work moving the school forward in the five years he was here – it has a completely different atmosphere and a brand new building.

“Now with the Bright Tribe sponsorship we are looking to the next step.

“Linda and myself, with Bright Tribe, will look at what needs to change to get better, and also at how we manage that change.

“Any change is a challenge for staff, students and parents, but the benefits will be many.

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“Staff have responded really well to the change and the atmosphere is one of positive engagement.

“Our focus, on year 11 students in particular, has remained on track.

“There has been a smooth transition.”

The school was rated as inadequate with “serious weaknesses” following an Ofsted inspection in July 2014, though a monitoring inspection in November last year found much improvement had been made.

Mrs Bamford was headteacher of the academy’s predecessor school, Sir Charles Lucas School, from 1990-96.

She said: “This was the school we always dreamed of, with these facilities, but we didn’t get to realise it. It is a very different place, and it is exciting to come back.

“Bright Tribe has a whole team, such as HR, which allows teachers to concentrate on students.

“The chain has schools in Ipswich which this school will be linking with, and sharing good practice between them.

“There are a lot of exciting opportunities in the future.

“Clearly results will have improved this year because of the hard work of all the staff so far.

The idea is then to plan in terms of curriculum and develop that to where we have even greater success – where it is even more focused on the needs of the children so they can reach their potential.”

Mrs Pierson added: “We want to raise the standards of Colchester Academy to make this a first choice school for parents because we offer different to other schools in the area.”