Concerns raised as two Stevenage heads prepare to move on

Geraint Edwards, acting head at Marriotts School, will be moving to The Priory School in September

Geraint Edwards, acting head at Marriotts School, will be moving to The Priory School in September - Credit: Archant

TWO Stevenage schools will be under new leadership in September, prompting questions over the impact constant changes are having on students’ education.

Headteacher Alistair Craig will leave his post at The Nobel School at the end of the month, while Marriotts School’s acting head Geraint Edwards will move on after the summer term to take over the reigns at The Priory School in Hitchin.

It means five of the six secondary schools in Stevenage will have changed its headteacher in the last year, with the longest serving head – Debbie Upton at The Barclay School – in post for 19 months.

Mr Craig is preparing to leave Nobel after more than six years at the helm, with a building project to reinvigorate the school almost complete.

Chair of governors Richard Aggus said: “Mr Craig had put a significant amount of time over several years into securing the Building Schools for the Future funding to remodel the school. He was instrumental in a design that blends a traditional approach with new spaces aimed at pushing the boundaries of learning. Now that the building work is complete, Mr Craig feels that the time is right to move onto new challenges.”

Nobel has appointed Martyn Henson as his successor, who will take up the role in September after leaving his senior deputy head post at a school in north London. In the interim period Cathy Tooze is leading the school.

Marriotts School, which has moved to Brittain Way following the completion of a multi-million pound building project, is expected to have a new head in place for September.

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Stevenage Borough Council leader Sharon Taylor is worried the number of changes in leadership could be affecting pupils.

“The problem we’ve got in Stevenage is attainment levels for five A*-C grades at GCSE, for example, are lower than the rest of the county,” said Cllr Taylor.

“That’s not acceptable to me and I can’t believe these constant changes among senior staff in Stevenage schools is helping.

“Our young people need the best results that they can achieve to succeed in what is a very tough market for jobs right now and if we’re not doing this we’re letting them down.”

Stevenage MP Stephen McPartland said: “The results in Stevenage schools have not been good enough for many years. The changes in leadership are part of an ongoing process and I’m delighted that we are making significant progress.”

About the number of changes, Richard Westergreen-Thorne, the development officer for the Stevenage Educational Trust, which works with schools across the town, said: “These things tend to go in cycles. When I was head at Barnwell there were very few changes for five or six years.”

A spokesman for the county council said it would provide support to Marriotts to ensure the best candidate for the job is found.

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