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Wednesday, 27 August 2014

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New Workington school head left last job after one term

The man drafted in to help lead a failing secondary school in west Cumbria quit his previous job after just one term.

David Dawes left his post suddenly at the start of January because of “differences of personal vision” with the trust running Kings Priory School in North Tyneside over its future leadership and direction.

Cumbria County Council and Lorrayne Hughes, the executive head of Stainburn and Southfield schools in Workington, say they are happy with his appointment.

They add that Mr Dawes went through a “rigorous” process to secure the post of head of school at Stainburn and proved himself to be a “capable and experienced” leader.

It was reported that his Christian vision for the Kings Priory School was believed to be the reason for his departure last month.

Local media reports in the north east state that a greater emphasis on Bible classes and a move to make religious education compulsory to a certain age and the cancellation of an annual Halloween party caused clashes between him, staff and parents.

Kings Priory, an academy for 4-18 year olds, was pioneering - it was created from the first-ever merger between a fee-paying independent school and a state primary school.

Just a month after his departure there, Mr Dawes is now head of school at Stainburn School in Workington. Sandy Todd takes on the same role at Southfield.

Cumbria County Council, under fire after schools standards watchdog Ofsted said it has “serious concerns” about secondary education in the county, says it is happy with the reasons why Mr Dawes left his role in Tynemouth and do not believe it will have any bearing on his new job.

A spokesman said: “Through a rigorous interview process David Dawes demonstrated himself to be a capable and experienced school leader.

“He comes highly recommended from Bede Academy in Northumberland, where he was the vice principal from 2008-2013 and was described by them as a highly skilled, principled and strategic leader with a great deal of integrity. Bede Academy was rated as ‘good’ by Ofsted ... in May 2012.

“David successfully led the new Kings Priory School in Tynemouth to opening in 2013, which he has left heavily over-subscribed. Both the county council and Lorrayne Hughes, the new executive head, were entirely satisfied with his reasons for stepping down from this position and do not believe it has any bearing on his appointment.”

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