Norfolk principal ‘bereft’ to be leaving academy for new chapter elsewhere in country

Dr Geoff Baker, principal of Cromer Academy. Picture: Angela Sharpe Photography/Inspiration Trust

Dr Geoff Baker, principal of Cromer Academy. Picture: Angela Sharpe Photography/Inspiration Trust - Credit: Angela Sharpe Photography

An 'inspirational' academy principal has said he is 'bereft' to be leaving his Norfolk school to begin a new chapter elsewhere in the country.

Dr Geoff Baker will leave Cromer Academy, run by the Inspiration Trust, at Easter, to move to a school in the north of England.

Dr Baker joined the trust in 2014, becoming principal in 2015.

Since then, the school has been rated good, and outstanding in certain areas, and recorded its strongest ever exam results - putting it second in the county for pupils' progress.

Dr Baker said he was moving for family reasons, and that it had been an impossible decision to make.

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'It's almost broken my heart,' he said. 'It's been a big decision. Cromer has been my life for the last three and a bit years, and I feel bereft.'

He praised the school's 'absolutely incredible' pupils, and his staff, who he said were 'the best team I have ever worked with'.

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'The school is now one I would undoubtedly love to send my children to,' he said.

Reflecting on highlights from the last few years, he said last January's Ofsted report, their strong results and the transformation of the site had been among the best moments.

'After the Ofsted outcome we made a guard of honour to thank the kids, which was great,' he said.

But also on the highlights reel is Les Day - a day held in honour of caretaker Les Sadler after he was given a community award.

It saw an assembly, posters, songs, themed food, a photo booth and a guard of honour arranged to show their appreciation.

'There are so many people like him in the Cromer community,' Dr Baker said. 'That's what's made it such a privilege.'

Dame Rachel de Souza, the Inspiration Trust's chief executive, said Dr Baker had put a 'rocket boost under Cromer'.

'He's done it with love and respect,' she said, 'and he loves Cromer. He has made it into a superb school.'

She said they wished him the best in his new role, and that while he would be very hard to replace, they were 'seeking a principal who can lead the school as well as Geoff has, and who can take the school to outstanding'.

In the January inspection, watchdog Ofsted praised Dr Baker's 'inspirational leadership'.

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