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By Ian Dipple Friday 13 December 2013 Updated: 13/12 09:30
A HEADTEACHER who transformed a borough school into the most improved in England has announced her retirement.
Marian Barton will step down from her role leading the teaching staff at Trinity High School next August after 19 years at the helm.
Mrs Barton was appointed to the post in 1995, at what was then the Abbey High School, becoming the first female headteacher in 110 years.
She was tasked with the job of turning around the Grove Street school’s fortunes but within two years was faced with dealing with the fallout from the controversial Redditch Review, instigated by Worcestershire County Council to remove thousands of surplus places, save money and drive up standards. It resulted in the school’s identity disappearing as it was replaced by Trinity High School - a result of a merger between Abbey High School and the closed Bridley Moor High School.
Despite that early challenge, over the last two decades Mrs Barton has overseen a huge upturn in the school’s performance culminating earlier this year in it being named the most improved school in the country, after the number of pupils achieving five GCSEs at A* to C grade soared from 32 per cent in 2009 to 80 per cent in 2012.
Working with the board of governors she has also seen significant sums invested to upgrade the ageing buildings including a modern sports hall and artificial pitches, music room and purpose-built Post-16 Centre, along with conversion to Academy status.
She said the decision had been a difficult one to take but she was leaving to spend more time with her husband, travel and enjoy other pursuits.
“I love this place, I love everybody and everything about it but it’s time to put family at the forefront really,” she told the Standard.
“The students have been absolutely wonderful to me, which is great, but the school has got to move forward and it’s time for a change at the top and I very much wish the school every success in the future and know it’s well poised to move forward.”
Before she calls it a day, Mrs Barton said over the next 12 months she wants to complete the Post-16 centre, revamp the school’s science labs, expand the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme and attempt to achieve an outstanding rating from Ofsted.
Mrs Barton will be replaced by current deputy headteacher Adrian Ward who will take charge from September 1, 2014.
Barry Prever JP, chair of governors, thanked Mrs Barton for her many years of service to the young people of Redditch.
“Trinity’s outstanding success has really been made possible because of the vision, hard work, dedication and outstanding leadership of our headteacher, Mrs Barton.”
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