Appointment of Mr Andrew Fowler as the next Principal of Lord Lawson of Beamish Academy.

15 April 2019

Dear Parents, Carers and Families

As you will know, at the start of this week we welcomed in the candidates to be our next Principal for a robust and transparent recruitment process which allowed staff, students and parents a clear view of what was on offer. We are very grateful to the parents and carers who joined us on Monday evening for a Q & A session and refreshments with the candidates.

We were blessed with a strong field of applicants and interviewed two exceptional candidates who came to us with established track records of success in their current and previous roles. We are grateful to both of them for the significant work they put into the process.

We are delighted to announce that Mr Andrew Fowler has been invited to lead the Academy as its next Principal.

Andrew’s previous Chair of Governors, at Dane Court Grammar School in Thanet, described him as someone who offers ‘total clarity with great compassion’ and we felt this really shone through.

Andrew is a music and drama teacher by trade (he is an excellent tenor and sang for our students in a lesson on improvisation in music which he delivered on Monday). He has spent most of his career at schools in Co. Durham, rising rapidly to head of department, then assistant headteacher before making the jump to become headteacher at Dane Court where he spent 4 years.

His first headship had its challenges and prepared him well for his new role with us. Andrew led a 3-year upward trend in outcomes and value-added measures, taking the school to 86th nationally out of 3500 maintained schools.

Andrew has spent this academic year as Senior School Improvement Partner for North Tyneside, supporting 15 schools on their own improvement journeys. Headteachers he is working within that role are highly complimentary about the support he has been able to offer. He is able to quickly and accurately assess the state of play and make evidence-led judgements on how to improve and has led in this manner successfully in his previous schools.

Andrew brings a strong sense of moral purpose to the role and it is clear that he is driven by the care, progress and well-being of young people. He is a measured and articulate man whose every word has an impact and he was very clear on how he would lead us on a rapid improvement journey by raising standards, ensuring behaviour for learning and improving teaching and learning.

He will lead with compassion, trust and by involving and empowering others.

One parent who attended the Q & A session on Monday wrote to me saying that it seemed clear to her that Andrew is motivated ‘by doing what is right for the child’ and that he ‘would set clear foundations…to raise and maintain high standards’. She felt ‘children would be safe in his care and able to gain their full potential’.

Simon Hawkins has had a profound impact on our Academy in a very short time and will, without doubt, continue to do so during his remaining time with us. We appreciate that it is a matter of regret to many that personal circumstances did not allow him to put himself forward for consideration for the permanent post, which is a testament to the high regard in which he rightfully held. We are very grateful to him for the leadership he has offered us at a critical time.

Mr Hawkins will continue to lead the Academy and the pace and direction will remain unchanged. His own vision and the actions he is taking are in complete harmony with Mr Fowler’s ambitions for us.

Mr Hawkins has offered Mr Fowler his complete support and they will shortly start working together in preparing for the transition in the summer.

Mr Fowler will then lead the Academy forward on a rapid improvement journey, building on the excellent foundations Mr Hawkins is continuing to lay, with the aim of improving outcomes for all our young people.

We need your support in doing this and welcome and value your views and input; you are all invited to our regular Parents’ Forum where we can hear your ideas and take your feedback on board.

We look forward to introducing Mr Fowler to you in due course and I am sure you will all want to join us in welcoming him to our Academy.

In the meantime, a very happy Easter to you all.

Yours sincerely

Mr Chris Smith JP
Chair of Governors