Principal to leave after overseeing ‘complete culture change’

Principal Michelle Strong is flanked by head boy Ben Moore and head girl Isabella Weller. Picture su

Principal Michelle Strong is flanked by head boy Ben Moore and head girl Isabella Weller. Picture supplied by Mark Sowersby - Credit: Archant

A principal who helped improve a school’s Ofsted rating from ‘inadequate’ to ‘good’ in the space of three years is moving on to a new challenge.

In 2014, Caister Academy was placed in special measures after a report found the school was failing in all areas, from the achievement of pupils to the behaviour of management.

Michelle Strong came in as principal the following year and in a transformational turn around, the school received a ‘good’ report from Ofsted earlier this year.

Inspectors said the senior leadership team and governors had changed the culture of the school and “driven sustained and effective improvements”.

But now, Mrs Strong has announced that she will be moving on at the end of the academic year to pursue a new role at a school in Nottingham, which is also part of the Creative Education Trust.

Mrs Strong said: “Obviously it’s going to be difficult to say goodbye to such a fantastic set of staff, pupils and parents.

“The progress we have made together since I arrived in 2015 is a credit to the Caister community and I will miss each and every one of them.”

The school’s longest-serving deputy head and current vice principal, Ann Bridges, will take over as interim principal over the next academic year.

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Mrs Strong added: “Ann and the team have been key in driving forward standards over the last three years and I have no doubt that will continue once I’ve gone.

“It’s not a decision I’ve taken lightly, but in the end the opportunity was too good to turn down.”

Philip Cantwell, Creative Education Trust director of education, paid tribute to Mrs Strong’s hard work and dedication at the school, but reiterated her view that the school remains well placed to progress further.

He said: “Michelle Strong has made an immense personal contribution to all aspects of the life at Caister Academy and we owe her a great debt.

“The school has undergone a complete culture change during her tenure, leading to better than ever results and a very high level of applications.”

Mr Cantwell added: “I am delighted she will remain within our trust and I know she joins me in wishing Ann and the team all the very best in driving forward further improvements.”