Teach First head is on a sound footing

Lucy Heller

While we were flattered by the interest The TES showed in Ark's appointment of Max Haimendorf as the head of King Solomon Academy's secondary school, this is a less heroic decision than you imply.

First, Mr Haimendorf is not charting a solo course, but joining a team. King Solomon Academy opened under the able leadership of Venessa Willms, a primary school head, in September 2007, and welcomed its second reception intake last month. Her first pupils have already significantly outperformed national average attainment for the foundation stage.

Mr Haimendorf will also be supported by the Ark Schools network, which now includes six academies at various stages of development and is a valuable source of good practice and shared experience.

Mr Haimendorf is not as ingenuous as your headline suggests. As head of year at Uxbridge, he had responsibility for 180 pupils; King Solomon Academy is a small school with a two-form intake. So, while the responsibilities of a head are wider, it will be three years before he has as many pupils as he had at Uxbridge.

We have high hopes for what Mr Haimendorf and his pupils can and will achieve, and every confidence in his competence and commitment.

Lucy Heller, Managing director, Ark Schools.

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Lucy Heller

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