Still smarting from critical Ofsted, Thomas Clarkson announces £90,000 a year principal will be replaced - but stay with academy sponsors

Anne Hill

Anne Hill - Credit: Archant

Less than a month after Ofsted described the Thomas Clarkson Academy in Wisbech as “inadequate”, the college has announced its £90,000 a year principal Clare Claxton is being replaced.

Thomas Clarkson Academy, Wisbech.

Thomas Clarkson Academy, Wisbech. - Credit: Archant

Academy sponsors The Brooke Weston Trust revealed it has invited turnaround specialist Anne Hill from the thriving Northampton Academy to take charge from September.

Ms Hill has been principal at Northampton for six years and has moved it from a poorly performing school to one that is consistently rated ‘good’ by Ofsted.

Ms Claxton, who will move to a new role within Brooke Weston, has faced an uphill challenge as the Thomas Clarkson’s proportions of pupils gaining the ‘gold standard’ for GCSEs fell below the government minimum target of 40 per cent for three years running.

Ms Claxton conceded “GCSE exam results in the summer were not as expected and the inspection has happened as a result of these results.”

Outgoing principal Clare Claxton.

Outgoing principal Clare Claxton. - Credit: Archant

Ofsted also found that throughout 2014 and 2015 teachers struggled to manage pupils’ behaviour “which led to large numbers being excluded from lessons and sent to the isolation room. This is now improving as teachers are using the school’s agreed procedures to manage behaviour more consistently”.

Brooke Weston said that Ms Claxton, who has been in charge at TCA since 2012, will move into a new role, which will focus on bringing teaching talent to the trust.

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Ms Hill said: “I am delighted to be joining Thomas Clarkson Academy and intend to focus on improving outcomes for all students.

“I strongly believe that a school should serve its community and this is especially important in a town like Wisbech which has only one secondary school.

“It is so important that the children who attend Thomas Clarkson Academy receive a good education and I, the senior leadership team and all staff at the Academy will do whatever it takes to provide this. I look forward to working with students, parents and the wider community to ensure we realise this aim.”

She added: “I have been aware of the work of the Brooke Weston Trust for many years and admire the work they do. I am really looking forward to working for them.”

BWT Chief Executive Andrew Campbell said: “Anne’s track record speaks for itself. “She is a highly experienced and respected head teacher. Working with Thomas Clarkson’s outstanding executive principal, Trish Stringer, Anne will continue the good work begun by Clare Claxton to drive forward the rapid improvement plan agreed with Ofsted following the recent inspection.

“I would like to publicly thank Clare for her hard work, care and commitment over the past four years and am pleased that she will remain part of the trust and will play an important part in driving our teacher recruitment strategy.”

He added: “This is the start of a new phase for TCA and the Trust is confident that the future is bright.”

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