Former deputy head to take the helm at Saffron Walden County High school

Caroline Derbyshire will be taking on the role of principal at Saffron Walden County High School nex

Caroline Derbyshire will be taking on the role of principal at Saffron Walden County High School next January. - Credit: Archant

Saffron Walden’s secondary comprehensive has appointed a new headteacher.

On Tuesday, it was announced that the current head of Linton Village College (LVC), Caroline Derbyshire, is to replace John Hartley at Saffron Walden County High (SWCHS) in January, after the headmaster of 12 years announced his retirement earlier this year.

“I am delighted to become the new executive headteacher at County High,” said Ms Derbyshire, whose current role as executive principal of Chilford Hundred Education Trust sees her heading around 800 students at the co-educational academy, as well as 270 pupils enrolled at The Meadow Primary School.

Ms Derbyshire is not new to County High – she was senior deputy headteacher there prior to her role at LVC, where she has been at the helm for ten years.

“It is a terrific school, with some of the most inspiring facilities in the country, and a record of high achievement and real breadth in its provision. The Trust partnership is something I feel has huge potential.”

“To take the leadership reins from John Hartley, who I know very well and worked with closely as deputy at SWCHS some years ago, is an honour,” she added.

“I look forward to reacquainting myself with the Saffron Walden community and to working with students, parents and staff. My only sadness will be to leave Linton Village College where I have been principal for ten years now and its achievements I am immensely proud of.”

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The board of governors welcomed the appointment.

“If we have to lose Mr Hartley, I can think of no one better to fill his shoes,” said governors’ chairman Barbara Calland.

“We are confident that Caroline will carry on John Hartley’s exceptional contribution to the school and the trust.”

Under Ms Derbyshire’s leadership, LVC has received an Outstanding Ofsted rating twice in a row, and in March, LVC was named as one of England’s top 100 state-funded schools, based on results in the English Baccalaureate last year.

A letter sent on Friday by LVC’s board of governors to notify parents and students praised Ms Derbyshire for her “outstanding contribution” to the school and trust, reassuring parents that there was plenty of time to find the right replacement.

“Caroline has built a strong management team around her and I am confident that the high standards that we are all so proud of will be maintained.

“I will keep you informed of our progress over the coming months in our recruitment for an exceptional person to be our new executive principal.”

Current SWCHS headmaster John Hartley, has been praised for his transformation of the school, which boasts around 2,000 students, state-of-the-art facilities and was rated Outstanding by Ofsted in the 2012 inspection.

“Having hugely enjoyed working with Caroline Derbyshire when I first came to County High I am thrilled that she has been chosen to take over responsibility of leading SWCHS and the other schools in Saffron Academy Trust,” said Mr Hartley.

“I am confident that under her leadership County High will continue to build on its current achievements and successes.”

Mr Hartley will continue to head the school until the end of the year.