Chief executive of major North Herts education group to step down after three years in post

Matt Hamnett is stepping down from his role as CEO of Hart Learning Group.

Matt Hamnett is stepping down from his role as CEO of Hart Learning Group. - Credit: Archant

After three years in post, Matt Hamnett has stepped down from his position as chief executive of the Hart Learning Group.

Matt Hamnett, right, with one of his apprentices at North Herts College.

Matt Hamnett, right, with one of his apprentices at North Herts College. - Credit: Archant

Mr Hamnett will be replaced by North Hertfordshire College principal Kit Davies, who is stepping up as interim CEO until a permanent appointment is made in early 2018.

Hart Learning Group is a charitable organisation with the mission to create social and economic value through learning.

It includes North Herts College, The Hart Schools Trust and Hart Learning & Development – a business designed to invest in emerging talent.

The schools trust manages The Thomas Alleyne Academy and formerly the Da Vinci studio schools in Stevenage and Letchworth which both closed earlier this year.

The Hart Learning Group has issued a statement, which said: “Over the course of his time in post, Mr Hamnett has delivered real and significant progress for students, business customers and the communities served by the group – including by delivering rapid, substantial, improvements to the quality of the group’s teaching, learning and assessment practice and the outcomes it delivers for students.”

These and other achievements were applauded in a recent Ofsted inspection where NHC and Hart L&D’s provision was judged to be ‘good’ with ‘outstanding’ features.

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The Ofsted report noted the “inspirational leadership” provided by governors, senior leaders and managers of the Hart Learning Group and the “rapid and significant improvements” in the quality of teaching and outcomes for learners, after a previous inspection resulted in a ‘requires improvement’ rating.

Mr Hamnett inherited a Da Vinci studio school model which was launched in 2012 as a major initiative to provide specialist 14-to-19 skills-based education, but ultimately failed.

The two schools, specialising in creative careers at its Letchworth base and science and engineering in Stevenage, were forced to close this summer after problems recruiting pupils – an issue that many similar schools have faced across the UK.

Of his decision to leave, Mr Hamnett said: “It has been a genuine privilege to lead the Hart Learning Group for the last three years.

“With the support of a strong board we’ve made big changes – and they’ve worked. Ofsted’s recent report confirmed the huge progress we’ve made in NHC and Hart L&D. We’re also seeing real, organic, collaboration between the different parts of the group.”

Lynne Ceeney, acting chair of the group’s board of governors, said: “I’ve really enjoyed working with Matt over the last three years. His passion, imagination and ability to engage colleagues in pursuit of excellence have been a pleasure to observe and guide.

“He leaves us determined to push forward to new levels of performance in all that we do. We wish Matt the very best for the future – whatever he decides to do next.”