Tony Searle, principal of the Compass secondary ‘free school’ which opened in September on the former Southwark College Bermondsey campus, is stepping down for ‘personal reasons’.

In a letter to parents published on the school website, chair of governors Dale Bassett writes:

I regret to inform you that very sadly, for personal reasons, our principal Tony Searle will be stepping down from Compass at the end of the term.
We are extremely proud of the fantastic first term Compass has had and our number one priority continues to be providing an excellent education for your child. In the new year we will start the recruitment process for an outstanding head who will build on the work already done and I hope to be in a position to announce that appointment in the spring.
In the interim our vice-chair of governors, Lauren Thorpe, has been appointed as interim principal from January. Ms Thorpe is an experienced, qualified secondary school teacher who trained on the acclaimed Teach First programme. She has taught in comprehensive, grammar and international schools, in Southwark, the south of England and Hong Kong. She has experience of working in a new school, leading teams of teaching staff and setting high expectations for staff and pupils. She holds a master’s degree from the Institute of Education, University of London.

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