Catholic schools' leader to become CEO of troubled Plymouth Cast academy trust

12th January 2018 at 13:35
Plymouth Cast has appointed a new chief executive.
Raymond Friel has authored books such as How to Survive in Leadership in a Catholic School

A troubled academy trust has appointed the leader of the Catholic Independent Schools’ Conference as its next chief executive.

Plymouth Cast was set up by the Plymouth Roman Catholic Diocese in 2014. It runs 35 schools in South West England.

The trust has received official warnings about academic standards and finances during the last 14 months.

Ofsted review

In November 2016, a focused Ofsted review highlighted “significant decline” in some schools since joining the trust, and warned that its leaders “do not have the capacity to bring about improvement with the necessary urgency”.

That was followed by an official warning notice, issued by then-regional schools commissioner Rebecca Clark.

And in September last year, the Education and Skills Funding Agency issued a financial notice to improve, raising concerns about “weak financial management” and “inadequate governance”.

Today, Raymond Friel tweeted that he would be taking over as CEO of Plymouth Cast in July, and said he was “looking forward to this great new challenge in Catholic education”.


Karen Cook, Plymouth Cast’s current director of finance, will be interim chief executive until Mr Friel takes up his new role.

He is currently general secretary of the Catholic Independent Schools’ Conference, which has 135 schools in England, Scotland, Ireland, France, Spain, Gibraltar, Italy and Singapore.

A former English teacher, he has had two headships, at St Joseph’s Catholic School in Salisbury and St Gregory’s Catholic College in Bath, and is a former Ofsted inspector and national leader of education.

His books include How to Survive Working in a Catholic School, and How to Survive in Leadership in a Catholic School.

He has also published several collections of poetry.

Want to keep up with the latest education news and opinion? Follow Tes on Twitter and Instagram, and like Tes on Facebook

Loved these articles?

Log in or register for FREE to continue reading.

It only takes a moment and you’ll get access to more news, courses, jobs and teaching resources.

Login/Register now


Related Content

The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now