A HEAD teacher whose contribution to education in York has been described as ‘second to none’ is retiring after 18 years at the helm.

Anna Cornhill has been teaching for 32 years and started at Scarcroft School at the turn of the century. Since then she has taken the school, which now has 370 pupils, to an outstanding rating by Ofsted.

In 2015 Mrs Cornhill, who herself went to the former Queen Anne’s School in York, was appointed a National Leader of Education (NLE), a role which has seen Scarcroft designated a National Support School and seen her provide additional leadership advice in other schools.

Mrs Cornhill, 55, was instrumental in setting up the South Bank Multi-Academy Trust in April 2016 with Scarcroft one of three founding schools that joined together along with Millthorpe and Knavesmire and since then, two other schools have joined the trust, Woodthorpe and York High. In 2017 she became trust principal.

She said: “Before I got the job at Scarcroft I worked in the Selby area as a deputy and then acting head. My game plan was I really wanted to have a school of my own. Scarcroft felt right from the minute I started here and I’m so lucky to have such an amazing team. We have been through some challenges - including becoming an academy and the expansion of the school, but there’s nothing greater that working with kids and some of the things they - you have a moment when you think ‘this is why I do this’.”

Governor Tracy Kuhn, said: “I’ve known Anna for a number of years, first as a parent, then as a governor, and more recently as chairman of governors. She’s done a brilliant job as head teacher over the past 18 years, mainly because she feels so passionately about education and children. It’s always been a joy to interact with the pupils at Scarcroft, all of whom leave school with lots of happy memories. She’s been a fantastic role model for my daughters and I’ve learnt a lot from her over the years. She’s never been afraid to stand up for something she strongly believes in and I’ve always admired her for that.”

Trust chairman, Edwin Thomas, said: “In her 18 years as Scarcroft head teacher and as a National Leader of Education, and more recently in the South Bank Trust, Anna’s contributions to education in York are second to none. But what really stands out to her colleagues, parents and students is her absolute commitment to doing the best for every child in her care. I congratulate Anna on everything she has achieved, and wish her the very best for the future.”

Mrs Cornhill, who lives in Osbaldwick, plans to teach piano and singing at home and continue her links with the school through Saturday morning singing and world drumming classes. Mrs Cornhill’s successor, Paul Edwards, who is currently head at Fangfoss CE School, takes over at Scarcroft in September.