The new principal of a free school, which has faced a turbulent few months, has pledged to bring it to the ‘top of its game’ with high quality education, teachers and student outcomes.
Alison Tilbrook has taken the top job at International English Schools UK (IES) Breckland, in Brandon, after enjoying a 34 year career at the Iceni Academy, in Methwold, including seven as vice principal.
It follows the departure of former IES principal Sherry Zand, who left in November to support her family in Surrey. This came weeks after six staff also left the school, which opened in September 2012.
In an interview with the Bury Free Press on Tuesday, Mrs Tilbrook said: “I want to make sure the school is at the top of its game - high quality education, teachers and student outcomes to be the best they can possibly be.
“Good quality teaching and learning is at the heart of good education. The IES ethos is tough love and high aspiration in a calm learning environment. It’s an ethos I subscribe to.
“It has been a bit turbulent in the last few months with several staff and the principal leaving. It’s now settling and we’re recruiting today.
“We’ve recruited high quality staff already since my appointment.
“I’m very excited to have this new challenge and relish the opportunity to make a difference.”
She said they aim to expand the curriculum to be ‘more innovative and creative’ and are exploring the possibility of introducing technical subjects such as photography, catering and resistant materials.
Mrs Tilbrook explained: “I want to personalise the learning as much as possible so give a wide range of opportunities that meet the local and aspirational needs.”
She also wants to explore the international flavour the school can offer - ‘increase aspiration to see there’s a big world out there’.
Ofsted inspectors visited the school recently with a report expected in the next few weeks.
The school, which can take upto 500 pupils, currently has 320 and a cohort of more than 100 Year 7 children who have applied for September.
Peter John Fyles, chief operating officer of International English Schools UK’s parent organisation in Sweden, who was interim principal, said: “We have only just started the work which is needed to improve this school and raise standards to meet our expectations.
“I was happy to get the ball rolling and I know that Mrs Tilbrook has the vision, experience and passion required to complete the job.”