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'Marmite' headteacher to leave academy trust altogether, it is confirmed

PUBLISHED: 16:20 28 January 2020 | UPDATED: 16:21 28 January 2020

Barry Smith, former principal of Great Yarmouth Charter Academy. Picture: Archant

Barry Smith, former principal of Great Yarmouth Charter Academy. Picture: Archant

Archant

The "Marmite" headteacher who has left Great Yarmouth Charter Academy will leave the Inspiration Trust altogether, it has been confirmed.

According to a spokesperson for the trust, Barry Smith will leave the academy chain on Friday, January 31.

Previously, the school had denied Mr Smith's suspension, claiming he was working "centrally on a curriculum project" while the deputy principal "took over day-to-day operations" of the school.

Though parents were officially informed on January 27 of Mr Smith's departure from Charter Academy, it had been unclear whether he would continue working at the trust.

Despite being dogged by controversy during his time at Charter for his notoriously strict approach to discipline, the Inspiration Trust said that "Mr Smith had played a significant part in leading the changes to the culture and ethos of the academy".

Mike Smith-Clare, county councillor for Great Yarmouth North and Southtown, said: "I am surprised at what is going on because it has been just under a week since the last announcement.

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"He has been a Marmite headteacher in terms of his popularity, and there will be a lot of people who will be sad at not having the chance to say goodbye."

Mr Smith is co-founder and former deputy principal at Michaela Community School in London, which has a reputation for competitive admissions and rigorous discipline. His stricter policies attracted a mixed response from parents in Great Yarmouth.

But in summer 2019, 56pc of pupils at the school achieved a passing grade in their GCSEs, compared to the 30pc recorded by its predecessor Great Yarmouth High School in 2017.

After the news broke of his departure, social media users were divided. Some lamented the loss of Mr Smith's "high educational standards", while others said they would not miss his approach.

The trust said they will be "recruiting for a replacement in the near future and, in the meantime, the school will continue to be run by the executive principal and deputy principal".

They said parents and staff "will be updated on the recruitment process in due course".

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