Founding principal of Sir Isaac Newton Sixth Form free school quits just a year after it opened

Mark Evans, who has left his position as principal at the new Sir Isaac Newton Sixth Form in Norwich. Photo: Bill Smith Mark Evans, who has left his position as principal at the new Sir Isaac Newton Sixth Form in Norwich. Photo: Bill Smith

Thursday, September 4, 2014
11:10 AM

The principal of a flagship free school has resigned just a year after it opened.

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Mark Neild, headteacher of the Sir Isaac Newton Sixth FormMark Neild, headteacher of the Sir Isaac Newton Sixth Form

Mark Evans was the founding leader of the Sir Isaac Newton Sixth Form in Norwich, the UK’s first maths and science sixth form.

No reasons have been given for his departure.

The school, which moved into its permanent home at the former Bethel Street fire station in April, is also due to host the government’s maths hub for the region.

The Inspiration Trust, which sponsors the school, said Dr Evans left of his own volition over the summer, but said that he did not give the trust any comments it could use to explain his decision.

Lord Nash, education minister, visits the former fire station in Bethel Street to start the construction work for the Sir Isaac Newton Free School. Lord Nash with the-then school principal, Mark Evans, centre, and chairman of the Inspiration Trust, Theodore Agnew, right. Picture: Denise BradleyLord Nash, education minister, visits the former fire station in Bethel Street to start the construction work for the Sir Isaac Newton Free School. Lord Nash with the-then school principal, Mark Evans, centre, and chairman of the Inspiration Trust, Theodore Agnew, right. Picture: Denise Bradley

He tweeted a photo of his motorbike outside his office at the school as recently as August 31, and tweeted a picture of a teacher at the school creating timetables for the new term the previous day.

He has been replaced by Mark Neild, previously vice principal at Thetford Academy, another Inspiration Trust school, and a governor of Sir Isaac.

Dame Rachel de Souza, chief executive of the Inspiration Trust, said: “We are very grateful for Dr Evan’s work in setting up Britain’s first Maths and Science sixth form and taking the school through the first phase. We wish him well in the future.”

12 comments

  • Lord Nash and co couldn't wait to rush to Norfolk with the "wonderful" RDS when things were rocky; how deafening is their silence now. I see that Gove has now bxxxxed up his Chip Whip post too.....shame that he was ever let loose on our children.....what a total disgrace.

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    Sportswagon

    Saturday, September 6, 2014

  • Aha. Clearly a definition of 'flock' that the rest of the world is unfamiliar with.

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    TheTruth

    Friday, September 5, 2014

  • It is an incredibly sad day for education in Norfolk and deeply depressing that a well respected, intelligent, wonderful teacher has left due to the power politics at play within the trust. I only hope that the students continue to flock to the school as the staff he recruited are outstanding. Best of luck to a wonderful educator.

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    Norfolk0204

    Friday, September 5, 2014

  • That is exactly the problem in IT schools. Staff turnover is enormous. People parachuted into position overnight, often with no credentials other than the ability to say 'Yes, ma'am'. IT will claim that they are getting rid of poorly performing staff to explain the high turnover, but I promise a huge number of highly effective 'good' and 'outstanding' teachers have left schools, and in some cases, the profession because of what is being asked of them, and what they are asked to do, in order to achieve these wonderful results we hear so much about. Those flying up the chain are certainly of a similar mould. It never pays to have your own view in the IT by all accounts, you don't last long.

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    OldSchool

    Friday, September 5, 2014

  • Sounds like a carbon copy of what sent the boy Adrian Ball to Thetford Academy when their previous head suddenly found out she didn't have a job last September. I'm sure Mr Evans didn't know he had decided to leave until he turned up for work and Mr Neild was sat in his chair. It stinks and the Inspiration Trust spreads across Norfolk like a virus. They have a blueprint of how to take over a school for the benefit of themselves (not the children or the local community). Next they will replace the governors with their own people so there is no accountability followed by getting rid of teachers who have integrity or speak out. A climate of fear then follows, dodgy OFSTED preparation and reports. Data, data, data - doesn't matter about the kids as long as the new leadership looks good. Mark Neild is perfect Inspiration Trust material - do as you are told and you will go far.

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    JRedding

    Thursday, September 4, 2014

  • Great! In the rush to replace the energetic and innovative Mr. Evans, they have taken someone from around the corner who has not been a head teacher, & not advertised the position. In fact they didn't even write the parents! Thanks a lot Mrs De Souza. Shows how much respect you have for the school, parents, pupils and other teachers. Perhaps to you this school is just another notch on your belt? It isn't to these students! This does not bode well. The explanation is, quite frankly, very poor.

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    proudmary

    Thursday, September 4, 2014

  • The head teacher of Sewell Park has also "decided" to leave at short notice. And it looks like Sewell park is now being run from Beccles with a contact email address that is gmail & schoolsloddon, which does not look either inspiring or reassuring. Still as long as those with their nose in trough are happy & the Interim Executive Board claim to be "delighted" so what else matters??

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    el84

    Thursday, September 4, 2014

  • Interesting my comments, posted earlier, regarding the way in which these posts were un-advertised, and filled by the 'right' people wasn't allowed. Turnover of staff in the IT seems to be increasing. Are the wheels coming off???

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    OldSchool

    Thursday, September 4, 2014

  • Good to see the job was advertised out and they searched for the best candidate another example of jobs for the boys and standard practice of the now privatised high earners in education - Gove got his wish

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    Jbone

    Thursday, September 4, 2014

  • First the head at Gt Y'mouth Inspiration Primary Academy goes, now Dr Evans and posts filled nepotistically......all reeks of sinking ships!!!

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    Sportswagon

    Thursday, September 4, 2014

  • I can't believe it. Yet another position within the Inspiration Trust that I appear to have missed the advert for!!! IT seems to become more and more incestuous as every week goes by. RDS favourites parachuted in, and promoted quickly. Anyone else remember the days when senior managers in schools had done the job for years and had bags of experience? Seems that nowadays it is enough to be keen and say the right things to the right people, 5 minutes into a teaching career. Staff turnover in this trust is becoming a bit of a laughing stock!

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    OldSchool

    Thursday, September 4, 2014

  • So RDS staff move into top jobs in Thetford and Hethersett, and now out of Hethersett to lead the INFS. Now that is some recruitment strategy!

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    TheTruth

    Thursday, September 4, 2014

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