Dr Jill Clough, head of Wimbledon high school, is to take over at East Brighton College of Media Arts, the beleaguered secondary. The school has failed to improve since it re-opened under the Fresh Start scheme and last month became the first Fresh Start to be placed in special measures.
With fees of pound;1,876 a term and its own indoor pool and theatre, Wimbledon high is a world away from Dr Clough's new school, which serves one of Brighton's most deprived council estates.
But Dr Clough, 55, who has been in the private sector for more thn 20 years, said she had been attracted by the potential to make a difference in East Brighton.
She said: "Many of my headteacher colleagues are envious. Most teachers come into teaching to improve the lot of children through education. This is a great opportunity to do that."
Meanwhile, the other failing Fresh Start secondary, Islington Arts and Media School, north London, has also appointed a new head. Richard Ewen, currently a "troubleshooting" assistant to the head at Telegraph Hill Fresh Start school, Lewisham, will succeed acting head Dr John Hudson in September. Mr Ewen has been given a 12-month contract by Cambridge Education Associates, the private firm which runs education services in Islington.