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Norfolk school seeks new head months after being bought by overseas investors

PUBLISHED: 09:43 23 January 2018 | UPDATED: 20:00 23 January 2018

Thetford Grammar School. Picture: Ian Burt

Thetford Grammar School. Picture: Ian Burt

Archant 2017

A historic independent school in Norfolk is recruiting for a new headteacher less than a year after it was taken over by overseas investors.

Mark Bedford, headteacher of Thetford Grammar School. Picture: SubmittedMark Bedford, headteacher of Thetford Grammar School. Picture: Submitted

Thetford Grammar School has posted an advert for a new head, who it says would start in September at the latest and would replace current headmaster Mark Bedford.

The school, which was founded in 1114, announced last summer that it would be bought by Thetford Grammar School Ltd, a UK company funded by the Hong Kong-based China Financial Services Holding.

It came amid a tough time for independent schools nationally, with Thetford having seen its pupil numbers drop by roughly 100 in 10 years.

MORE: 900-year-old school to be bought by overseas investors to ease stretched budget

Mr Bedford, who started in September 2015, said parents were told about the news in December, with the recruitment process now beginning.

But he said he expected little to change in day to day life at the school.

“The school has had a good reputation for centuries and centuries and I don’t see that changing,” he said.

“A new head may have a slightly different perspective on things, but I don’t see, in essence, that the school is going to change much.”

He said it was, both personally and professionally, the right time to go.

“I’ve done my best and worked very hard here, and I think it’s time for somebody else to carry on and take over the mantle,” he said.

MORE: Diss, Thetford - where next? Independent schools a target for overseas investors

He said he was yet to reach a decision on his next steps, but that it would be centred around his family.

The advert says the school is looking for an “inspiring and resourceful” head, to help guide them through an “exciting future”.

It says the school plans to expand its student numbers and “develop strong international links”.

“He/she will provide strategic direction for the school and have the opportunity to make a real impact on the future destiny of Thetford Grammar School as it positions itself to be at the forefront of education in the 21st century,” the advert said.

When the news about the new owners was announced in June, the school said it hoped the decision would put its future on more stable footing.

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