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On 1st June, Laidlaw Schools Trust, its pupils, staff, trustees and governors welcomed three new key leaders:

Dave Davies officially takes up post as Director of School Improvement (secondary). Previously head teacher of Sedgefield Community College (SCC), Mr Davies, has been working closely with the Trust over the last two academic years supporting Excelsior Academy (EA). Mr Davies’ new role, working closely with the principals of EA, SCC and Academy 360 (A360), is to drive secondary school improvement; ensuring that every pupil progresses, enjoying transformative education and attaining the qualifications they need to become successful, fulfilled, citizens. 

Susanna Kempe, Chair of the Trust said “we are delighted to have such a talented leader with a track record of delivering outstanding education join our executive team”

Stepping into Mr Davies shoes as head teacher of SCC is Geoff Robinson, formally deputy head at the school Mr Robinson was key in its rapid and sustained improvement. Pupils and staff are happy that the school remains in excellent hands and look forward to continued success in the future. 

John Robinson, Chair of the local governing body said “it is of great comfort to all that we were able to promote one of our own talented leaders to this important role ensuring our school retains its exceptional standards”

Having successfully led Queen Elizabeth High School in Hexham, Mr Andriot joins the Laidlaw Schools Trust with a wealth of experience from a number of schools including Sandhill View School in Sunderland, Washington School in Sunderland and Queen Elizabeth’s Girls’ School in the London Borough of Barnet. Mr Andriot shares the Trust’s vision not only to educate, but to transform lives, and is fully committed to making a difference to our school community. 

The Chair of Governor’s Professor Tim Goodship said “Mr Andriot has been working closely with the school since his appointment in November 2019 but we are delighted he is now officially in post  and we are confident the academy will go from strength to strength under his leadership” 

Mr Andriot takes over the helm from Dave Thornton who has been the interim principal since November 2018, Mr Thornton has done an excellent job of steering the academy resulting in a positive Ofsted report in March 2020 and leaving it in excellent shape on which to drive further improvements. The Trust and school thank Mr Thornton for his dedicated leadership.

Jane Spence, CEO of the Trust said “I am thrilled to have been able to appoint three great leaders to secure the future success of the Trust and I know pupils, colleagues and the Board will join me in making them very welcome.”

Dave Davies

Dave Davies

Director of School Improvement (Secondary)

James Andriot

James Andriot

Excelsior Academy Principal

Geoff Robinson

Geoff Robinson

Sedgefield Community College Headteacher