THE head of a troubled Poole school has left her post with immediate effect.
Principal Cheryl Heron left St Aldhelm’s Academy on Monday and has been replaced by an interim head.
The Daily Echo understands that the school’s two sponsors, Bournemouth University and the Diocese of Salisbury, will also be replaced in the near future.
The Herbert Avenue academy is at the centre of a police investigation after losing more than £1 million when staff fell prey to an email scam.
It also recorded the worst GCSE results in the country in 2011 with just three per cent of pupils meeting the national benchmark standards of at least five GCSEs at grades A*-C including English and maths.
Since then results have improved but are still the worst in the whole of Poole, Bournemouth and Dorset council areas.
Last year’s figure of 31 per cent left the academy in the bottom 50 secondary schools in England.
It has recently been served with a financial notice to improve by the Department for Education.
And a spokesman for the Department told the Echo: “We are working closely with the Trust and the school to seek a new sponsor for St Aldhelm’s Academy.
“To ensure pupils’ education is not disrupted, the current sponsors will remain in place until a new sponsor is found.”
The interim principal at St Aldhelm’s is Monica Cross, who recently worked in the role of Executive Head at Portland’s Aldridge Community Academy Trust.
Announcing her departure, Ms Heron said: “It is with mixed feelings that I have decided to leave St Aldhelm’s and move on to new challenges.
“I’d like to thank all my colleagues, past and present, for the immense amount of work and dedication they have given to the academy.
“The reason I came into education work and the reason I shall continue to work in education is because of young people and in St Aldhelm’s we have seen some of the most cheerful, curious and responsive young people I have ever worked with.”
The academy was launched in 2010 to replace the former Rossmore Community College.
Academies are independent of local authority control and are responsible for hiring and firing their own staff.
Bishop of Salisbury, the Right Reverend Nicholas Holtam, said: “I would like to thank Cheryl Heron for her deep personal investment in the academy and the progress under her leadership that the students have made.
“Throughout the second half of the summer term the academy will be led by interim head teacher Monica Cross who brings a wealth of expertise and experience to the role.”
He said an announcement on the future sponsorship of the academy will be made in the “very near future.”
In a statement, school governors said: “We would like to thank Cheryl for the determined and resilient way she has handled the challenges presented by the academy in the first phase of its life.
“Under her leadership the academy has made significant improvements in attitudes to learning, educational attainment and the quality of its resources, not least a new building. We wish her well in her future career.”
Statement from Governors
After four years as Principal of St Aldhelm’s Academy, Cheryl Heron has decided that the time is right for her to leave and move on to new challenges.
We would like to thank Cheryl for the determined and resilient way she has handled the challenges presented by the Academy in the first phase of its life. Under her leadership the Academy has made significant improvements in attitudes to learning, educational attainment and the quality of its resources, not least a new building. We wish her well in her future career.
Cheryl’s last day at work was Monday and it is anticipated that the Academy’s new sponsor(s) should be named by the Department for Education next week.
The Governors and Sponsors have appointed a very experienced Interim Principal, Monica Cross, who will lead the Academy until the new sponsor(s) appoint a permanent Principal.