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New head teacher for John O’Gaunt

Reporter: John Garvey Chief Reporter

Contact: 01635 886628

JOHN O’Gaunt Community Technology College has a new headteacher.

She is Sarah Brinkley, currently deputy headteacher at John Mason School in Abingdon.

Ofsted has described her teaching as “outstanding” and her appointment as successor to outgoing headteacher Neil Spurdell was unanimously approved by governors.

She will start work in September and a statement released by the governors at John O’Gaunt said: “We are confident that Mrs Brinkley will do an outstanding job in building on the excellent work of Neil Spurdell and his colleagues, in ensuring that the John O’Gaunt School community provides a most positive and rewarding education experience for all the students at the school.”

Father of four Mr Spurdell, who will remain for the summer term and throughout the summer holidays, has accepted the post of headteacher at Sheldon School in Chippenham, Wiltshire.

When he arrived in April 2009, John O’Gaunt was the lowest performing secondary school in the district with just 26 per cent of its 15-year-old pupils achieving five or more good GCSEs – grades A* to C – including English and maths.

By June 2008, education chiefs had given a stark ultimatum: improve or face closure.

Mr Spurdell took over, vowing to turn around the school’s fortunes.

By 2010, a glowing Ofsted report proved he has done just that.

He said this week that while he was very sad to be leaving John O’Gaunt, he was thrilled that such an “outstanding” candidate had been appointed as his replacement. He added: “Sarah was the first prospective candidate who visited the school when the job was advertised and I told staff who asked about her that if she was the only one who ultimately applied, she would do a great job.

“In the end, we had 29 applications for the position, and the final field was incredibly strong. I feel extremely relaxed now, knowing that Sarah will be at John O’Gaunt with my colleagues continuing to take the school further forward and I hope she will be as happy here as I have been.”

Mrs Brinkley said: “I’m delighted to be joining John O’Gaunt and the Hungerford community in September as Headteacher – it’s an inspiring place to be. Students, staff and parents have worked so hard together to achieve the excellent improvement in results over the past three years and I look forward to leading the school on the next stage of its journey.”


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