CET has made a new senior appointment to help drive improvement across its three secondary schools.

Workington Academy Headteacher Des Bird has been selected as the trust’s first Director of Secondary Education. It’s a role which will provide high quality support to the trust’s three secondaries – Workington, The Whitehaven Academy and William Howard School in Brampton.

Des will work with school leaders and the trust’s School Improvement Teams to ensure all pupils can access an ambitious curriculum and promote innovation in educational provision.

He will combine the new role with becoming Workington’s Executive Headteacher, retaining operational responsibility for the academy, its students and staff. He will be supported in that role by the experienced management team at Workington and current Deputy Headteacher Mark Bedford will take on a new role of Head of School, assisting with day-to-day operational management.

CET’s Chief Executive Lorrayne Hughes said the new position was a key next step in raising and maintaining achievement across the trust’s secondary schools.

She said: “We are fortunate to have strong leadership at all of our secondary schools and this new role enables additional focus on securing the best possible outcomes for our students.

“As a multi-academy trust, we firmly believe that schools operate better ‘as one’. This new appointment will ensure we can continue to develop and deliver on our core promise that we support all our students to ‘be the best they can be’.

Des has been Headteacher at Workington Academy since 2018.

During that time the academy’s popularity with families has continued to climb. In September it will have a record Year 7 intake of almost 270, taking student numbers to a high of 1,200, representing an increase of more than 50% in four years.

Academic achievement has also continued an upward trend, with more students gaining places at top universities and sought-after apprenticeships.

The academy’s facilities have been further developed, including the recent opening of new outdoor sports pitches, and strengthening of the post-16 education offer with the joint West Coast Sixth Form with The Whitehaven Academy.

Des said: “I am delighted to take on this new challenge while continuing to oversee operations at Workington.

“One of the trust’s strengths is its ability to raise standards through collaborative effort. The additional support and focus of this role will ensure that we continue to move forward with developing the very best curriculum we can for 11-18 education.”

Mark has overseen the establishment of the two centre West Coast Sixth Form since its inception in 2020.

He said: “It’s been a privilege to be part of the Workington Academy success story as Deputy Headteacher over the past six years and I am delighted to have a new role to play in its further development.”

The new positions are with immediate effect, until August 2023.

The trust already has a Director of Primary Education, Chris Wilkins, who has oversight across CET’s eight primary schools.