Barclay headteacher to step down in wake of Future Academies takeover

Barclay headteacher Mark Allchorn will leave the Stevenage school at Easter. Picture: DANNY LOO

Barclay headteacher Mark Allchorn will leave the Stevenage school at Easter. Picture: DANNY LOO - Credit: Picture: DANNY LOO

Barclay Academy’s headteacher has announced today he will leave the Stevenage school at Easter.

In a letter to parents at the Walkern Road school, which was taken over by the Future Academies Trust at the start of the month, Mark Allchorn has explained his decision to depart after more than two years at the helm.

His arrival as acting head in September 2016 came after Barclay was rated inadequate and put in special measures by Ofsted. After being appointed as the head the following year, the school advanced to requires improvement – with elements of good.

Reflecting on his time at Barclay, Mr Allchorn said: “It was never going to be easy to communicate that I am leaving such a strong and resilient community of students, staff and parents that is Barclay, and I appreciate Future Academies’ desire for me to remain.

“I believe I’ve carried out my duties to the best of my ability and had the joy to lead a talented senior team, such committed teachers and delightful students. The support of parents and carers has been massively important throughout the last two years, which have been the most challenging, enjoyable and satisfying of my long career. At many times, they’ve also been a great deal of fun!

“This school is truly amazing, and I will always have very fond memories of leading here.

“I know some of you will question my decision to move on. The school is in good heart and has moved rapidly out of measures. I have every confidence that the senior team will continue to drive up standards in all aspects of school life, in partnership with Future Academies.”

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Paul Smith, the chief executive officer of Future Academies – whose forced takeover of Barclay has been strongly opposed by some parents who formed a Hands Off Barclay campaign in opposition – said: “We would like to take this opportunity to convey our sincere thanks to Mr Allchorn, who has made the decision to move on after the Easter break.

“Mr Allchorn has worked with tireless dedication as headteacher of Barclay for the last two years to raise the standards of education at the school. His determined and focused leadership has played a hugely significant part in ensuring that such positive progress has been made at the school to improve the life chances of all of the students at Barclay.

“He is quite rightly held in very high esteem by the students, staff, parents and carers, and everyone at Future Academies. Although we are very sad that Mr Allchorn has made the decision to move on, we wish him all the very best in his future endeavours.

“We appreciate all that Mr Allchorn has done to lay the foundations for the school improvement that is already underway at Barclay. We are sure all members of the school community would like to wish him all the best for the future.”

In the same letter to parents, Mr Smith confirmed that a new principal has already been appointed to take over after the Easter break in April.

He said: “We are delighted to announce to you that we have appointed Dr Matthew Laban as the new principal from Easter 2019. Dr Laban is a very successful principal across a range of schools in London and the south east.

“Additionally, in order to provide continuity and a smooth transition, Lauren Phillips will step into the interim role of head of school for the summer term of 2019.

“Dr Laban will be holding a series of parent and carer events in the summer term so that he can meet you all and discuss the ongoing plans for the continued and accelerated improvements at Barclay. More details on this will follow in due course.”

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