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Hope Academy appoints temporary principal
Updated 7:11pm Tuesday 25th March 2014 in News
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.
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