A NEW head teacher is set to take over the helm at a North Yorkshire school.

Jeff Smith will succeed Steven Jandrell as principal of Queen Ethelburga’s Collegiate, a private school in Thorpe Underwood, from August this year.

Mr Smith said: “The challenges facing schools across the UK in preparing for a full reopening in September - as we’ve heard said many times already - are unprecedented. With key worker and Forces students staying on campus throughout lockdown, and a successful return of our Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 cohort in early June, we have used this experience to ensure we have adaptable plans in place for welcoming all our students back at the start of term.

“Our priorities for the next year and beyond build on QE’s success story to date. We know that the key to academic excellence is the consistency in quality of teaching; therefore, this will always be the focus for the Collegiate.

“Continuous improvement is also vital. We will be reflecting on everything we do and will always seek feedback from our students, parents and teachers so that we understand our community needs and find ways to meet them. We will find ways to broaden and improve the curriculum and enrichment opportunities we offer and take every opportunity to extend students learning beyond the restraints of the classroom. Through our academic, pastoral and enrichment programmes, we will support students in developing personal qualities such as leadership, resilience, critical thinking and responsibility.

“As always, we will prioritise the safeguarding, health and wellbeing of all our students and staff.”

Amy Martin, chairman of the board at the school, said: “Throughout the recruitment process, it was incredibly important to us to ensure that the huge amount of experience, skills and knowledge we already have in our strategic team was complemented by any new appointment. I believe we have achieved this in appointing Jeff, to lead the team with vision and ambition, in creating the next exciting chapter of the QE story.

“Jeff comes with an exceptional track record in successfully leading schools, improving and sustaining high performance. With a strong focus on teaching excellence, pastoral support and the continuing professional development of staff, we are confident that he will truly embody all our QE Community Values.”

Mr Smith is married to Heather and has three grown up children, each working in a medical capacity for the NHS, and two young grandchildren.