Hope Academy appoints temporary principal

Dr David Dennison

Dr David Dennison

First published in News
Last updated

THE troubled Hope Academy has moved to appoint a temporary principal and a new chair of governors as it aims to address failings identified by Ofsted.

Dr David Dennison, former head teacher at St Margaret’s Church of England Academy, Liverpool will start immediately as interim principal.

Meanwhile, Frank Cogley, the former director of schools for the Catholic Archdiocese of Liverpool, has been appointed chair of governors.

The new structure follows the decision by principal John Gannon to stand down earlier this month.

Chair of governors, Bart McGettrick, left after resigning.

In a statement, Dr Dennison said: “Hope Academy has considerable potential and I am delighted to have the opportunity to work with the school community to overcome the present difficulties.”

The resignations came after an Ofsted monitoring visit at the £33m academy in Newton-le-Willows. It was being scrutinised after the school’s first inspection in April 2013 ruled it “required improvement”.

Although the findings of the most recent visit have yet to be made public, it is understood the academy has been told it will be placed in special measures.

Education watchdogs believe progress has been too slow at the school and Dr Dennison, 62, will be tasked with implementing an action plan at the academy, which is sponsored by Hope Academy, Liverpool Hope University and the Catholic and Church of England Archdioceses of Liverpool.

A statement issued by Hope’s sponsors said the pair had already begun addressing the issues raised by Ofsted and will, in particular, be focusing on improving standards.

A spokesperson for the sponsors said: “We are delighted that two highly regarded, experienced educational leaders have accepted our invitation to take up these critical roles.

“The governors and sponsors are determined to see the present situation at the Academy turned around as quickly as possible.

“This is the first step. We will continue to work alongside the governors to make sure all students can receive the high quality education that they deserve.”

Dr Dennison’s CV also includes a six year spell as headteacher of Archbishop Temple Church of England High School in Preston for six years, an ailing school that he turned around.

Meanwhile, Mr Cogley, who was part of the team that led the creation of the academy from a merger of Newton High and St Aelred’s Catholic Technology College in 2012, added: “I am extremely disappointed that Hope Academy has not yet developed as we all believed it would.

“There is a great deal of hard work ahead to turn things around.

“However, with the continuing and unified commitment of staff, students, parents and the community, I am confident we can very quickly achieve the success the students deserve.”

The governing body is aiming to appoint a permanent principal by September.

Comments (7)

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7:02pm Tue 25 Mar 14

M_Addams says...

It's a start, to be honest I was hoping a few more 'retirements' would be taking place, Mr Gannons inner circle of assistants for a start. If we're starting again lets start from scratch with people how have really proven themselves in similar situations, no more playing games, no more pretending.
It's a start, to be honest I was hoping a few more 'retirements' would be taking place, Mr Gannons inner circle of assistants for a start. If we're starting again lets start from scratch with people how have really proven themselves in similar situations, no more playing games, no more pretending. M_Addams
  • Score: 14

10:54pm Tue 25 Mar 14

M_Addams says...

It's pretty difficult to get a conversation going when the Star constantly deletes comments, it's very suspicious.
It's pretty difficult to get a conversation going when the Star constantly deletes comments, it's very suspicious. M_Addams
  • Score: 13

8:43am Wed 26 Mar 14

Greeny1998 says...

Bullying is counter-productive and, although it may produce results out of fear, it is not sustainable. Some teachers become senior leaders and forget what it's like on the shop floor - a little bit of power can go to some people's heads. Bullying is an ineffective tactic; it has a knock on effect on the children. Not only does it cause staff to have time off with stress (affecting children's learning) but it is not a good example to set if children are expected not to bully! Hope this new man can understand our children, respect them, talk to them, listen to them and employ leaders who will do the same. I hope he will empower teachers so that they can just get on with their job - educating children. I support this school but it's got to be right this time.
Bullying is counter-productive and, although it may produce results out of fear, it is not sustainable. Some teachers become senior leaders and forget what it's like on the shop floor - a little bit of power can go to some people's heads. Bullying is an ineffective tactic; it has a knock on effect on the children. Not only does it cause staff to have time off with stress (affecting children's learning) but it is not a good example to set if children are expected not to bully! Hope this new man can understand our children, respect them, talk to them, listen to them and employ leaders who will do the same. I hope he will empower teachers so that they can just get on with their job - educating children. I support this school but it's got to be right this time. Greeny1998
  • Score: 9

8:44am Wed 26 Mar 14

Greeny1998 says...

*bullying by senior leaders to staff
*bullying by senior leaders to staff Greeny1998
  • Score: 4

3:40pm Wed 26 Mar 14

rollingrock says...

Good to hear that a new head has been put in place - sounds very promising and positive. The guy sounds like he has a wealth of experience which seems to be needed in this situation. The outcome of the Ofsted report on this place will be very interesting. Suggestions seem to be that it will not be good. If this is the case, then I wonder what other major changes will be made. I assume that in most cases where a school is underperforming, the whole of the leadership team/group are 'encouraged' to leave. Maybe this is what is needed here. Only time will tell. Clearly something needs to be done as this flagship academy should surely be at least 'good' with Ofsted. Lots of money spent on that place - it needs to work.
Good to hear that a new head has been put in place - sounds very promising and positive. The guy sounds like he has a wealth of experience which seems to be needed in this situation. The outcome of the Ofsted report on this place will be very interesting. Suggestions seem to be that it will not be good. If this is the case, then I wonder what other major changes will be made. I assume that in most cases where a school is underperforming, the whole of the leadership team/group are 'encouraged' to leave. Maybe this is what is needed here. Only time will tell. Clearly something needs to be done as this flagship academy should surely be at least 'good' with Ofsted. Lots of money spent on that place - it needs to work. rollingrock
  • Score: 6

8:30pm Fri 28 Mar 14

L.Thelwall says...

Hello
Hello L.Thelwall
  • Score: 0

8:39pm Fri 28 Mar 14

L.Thelwall says...

How sad this all is especially when one remembers what a fantastic school St Aelred's was and what a great Leadership team there was there. That they were forced to close in order to facilitate this now failing academy is nothing short of a disaster. These reports that it replaced two failing schools are just blatantly lies. Let's hope a better appointment will be made next time, sadly too late to prevent so many careers being destroyed along with such a good school as St Aelred's
How sad this all is especially when one remembers what a fantastic school St Aelred's was and what a great Leadership team there was there. That they were forced to close in order to facilitate this now failing academy is nothing short of a disaster. These reports that it replaced two failing schools are just blatantly lies. Let's hope a better appointment will be made next time, sadly too late to prevent so many careers being destroyed along with such a good school as St Aelred's L.Thelwall
  • Score: 4

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