Two Key Appointments Signal New Era For North East Academy Trust

Issue 79

Kenton Schools Academy Trust (KSAT) which operates two secondary academies in the Newcastle area - Kenton School and Studio West - has announced the appointment of two highly experienced senior leaders.

Ian Kershaw FRSA and Lee Kirtley will not only consolidate the trust’s educational standing but ensure a sound platform for continuing success as the trust embarks on a new era of academic achievement, improvement and growth.

Mr Kershaw has been appointed chief executive officer (CEO). He is a well-known and highly respected educationist and independent consultant with expertise in leading and supporting complex organisations and improving outcomes for young people. With a lifetime spent in education, he has worked latterly as a consultant and from 2014-2017 as CEO of Northern Education Trust, where he presided over the growth of the trust to twenty schools, making it one of the largest multi academy trusts in the north of England. He was also appointed by Birmingham City Council in 2014 as its independent chief adviser, leading the investigation into claims contained in the socalled ‘Trojan Horse’ letter.

He was appointed KSAT’s CEO by the trust board upon the retirement of his predecessor.

Commenting on his role, Mr Kershaw, said: “I am proud to be working for a dynamic trust board comprising highly experienced educationists, business professionals and university leaders who bring a wide range of corporate experience to their roles. I am delighted to be able to draw upon this and share my own experience with colleagues as we seek to expand the number of academies under our supervision in the future and ensure that KSAT becomes a top performing trust.”

One task already performed is to assist the trust board in the appointment of an executive principal, Lee Kirtley, who will oversee improvements across both academies operated by the trust with a particular focus on improving outcomes at Kenton School.

Mr Kirtley, who has worked in education for twenty years, took up his role at the end of February. Prior to this, he led Manor Community Academy in Hartlepool from Requires Improvement to an Ofsted Good judgement. Here, as well as holding the role of principal since June 2018, he also worked as associate executive principal for two years as part of the Northern Education Trust’s executive team leading the trust through the complexities of COVID-19 and supporting Dyke House Academy, also in Hartlepool. Previously, he held senior leadership roles at academies operated by Outwood Grange Academy Trust and Rye Hills School.

Already making an impact on day-to-day operations, he said: “My vision for education is that students are at the centre of everything we do. Staff are supported to improve their practice to enable them to deliver a high-quality inclusive curriculum. This enables all students to achieve their full potential. Bringing my vision alive within both of our schools is my absolute priority.”

Kenton Schools Academy Trust operates two academies – Kenton School and Studio West, an enterprise and innovation campus located in the west end of Newcastle at West Denton. Kenton School is one of the largest 11-19 academies in the North of England with 2010 places, while Studio West is smaller with around 600 students.

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