Following an intensive recruitment process which generated more than 20 high calibre applicants, Cumbria Education Trust (CET) has announced the appointment of a new Headteacher for The Whitehaven Academy (TWA), who will take up his post in September.

Nigel Youngman, who currently lives in Norfolk and is currently Interim Head of School with Ark Helenswood Academy in Hastings.  He comes with glowing references and a solid track record in school improvement gained in a wide range of former posts in urban, rural and coastal settings.

In making the appointment, CET worked with a national firm of recruitment specialists – Navigate – and undertook a highly rigorous process over a two-day period which included the involvement of staff and student panels as well as presentations to staff.  A member of TWA’s Local Advisory Board (LAB) and a Trust Board Director also participated in the final recruitment panel.

His appointment comes at a time when the entry level figures for Year 7 students have increased significantly which is very positive news for the Academy, as Lorrayne Hughes, CEO of CET explains:

“We are feeling exceptionally positive about the future of the Academy. Parents have indicated that the teaching staff at the Academy are very well respected and CET will strive to develop positive relationships with the Whitehaven Community, parent and carers. Our goal is for Whitehaven Academy to be the school of choice in the area and we hope that the increase in year 7 admissions is the start of an upward trend”

“Securing a candidate of Mr Youngman’s calibre to take up the post of Headteacher is another constructive step forward on TWA’s journey of improvement.  Mr Youngman has solid experience in school improvement and raising standards in teaching and learning and I have every confidence that we have made the right choice in his appointment and look forward to welcoming him to the academy and to CET in due course.  I hope he will be able to spend some time with us in Whitehaven towards the end of the summer term so that he can familiarise himself with teaching staff, parents, carers, the Trust Board and of course the students, before the new academic year begins.”

TWA has also made a number of middle leadership appointments in Performing Arts, PE, Humanities, MFL and Design and Technology.  These five members of staff will join TWA’s Maths, English and Science middle leaders who are already in post.

Andrea Bateson will continue as head of school during this transitional phase pending Mr Youngman’s arrival in September and TWA’s new teaching staff taking up their roles.

Mrs Hughes continued: “We now have a very strong team in place to take TWA forward.  The new middle leaders will be led by Jo Fox, CET Deputy Headteacher and Dan Smith who has recently secured the position as Assistant Headteacher.”

“As we seek to fulfil our ambition for all students to ‘be the best they can be’, we are also hoping to be working with Teach First and be fully staffed with specialist staff for September.”

“TWA is looking forward confidently to a bright new future with a team of specialist staff and leaders in place and the prospect of a wonderful, new, state of the art school building on the horizon.  These are exciting times.  We still have a lot of hard work to do, but I know we can, and will, succeed.”