Principal of Marine Academy to retire
A PRINCIPAL has retired following three years in the role.
Helen Mathieson, the principal of Marine Academy Plymouth (MAP), will leave at the end of August having decided to retire from full-time work.
Mrs Mathieson (pictured above right) has been principal of Marine Academy Plymouth since it opened in September 2010.
The academy replaced Tamarside Community College with the remit to improve teaching and learning, raise attainment and raise aspirations for the community.
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Keith Ballance had been headteacher at Tamarside Community College for eight years before it was set to become the UK's first academy.
But the partners behind the creation of the academy – the University of Plymouth, Plymouth City Council and Cornwall College – interviewed candidates for the new headteacher job. This included Mr Ballance, who was also chairman of the Plymouth Association of Secondary Headteachers at the time.
Mrs Mathieson became the academy's first principal in April 2010 leaving her post as the-then headteacher at the "Outstanding" Treviglas Community College in Newquay to do so.
Mrs Mathieson said: "Leading this academy forward has been one of the most rewarding roles of my life. We have made huge strides towards making MAP the learning campus that the St Budeaux community deserves."
Since Mrs Mathieson took the helm at the Trevithick Road campus, both GCSE and A-level passes have increased year on year.
From students achieving five GCSEs grade C and above, including English and maths standing at just 30 per cent in 2010, the figure has leapt to 47 per cent in 2012.
The number of young people going on to higher education has also improved; from just two students going on to university from the campus in 2010 to 47 going on to higher education this year.
Under Mrs Mathieson's leadership the number of children attending Shining Stars nursery has increased and she has also overseen a campus transformation, totalling £14m, that will be fully open to students in September.
Mrs Mathieson has also secured a new primary free school, Marine Academy Primary (MAP2) to be built on the site, ensuring that her vision of an all-through school (0 to 18+) will become a reality.
Mrs Mathieson is set to continue to work with Plymouth University and MAP. She said: "Moving away from being MAP's full-time principal frees me up to have a more fluid and strategic role working between MAP, MAP2 and the University. I feel very privileged to have been able to work as MAP's first principal and I am excited to be part of MAP's future, albeit in a different guise from the next academic year."
Chair of the Governors, Professor Mary Watkins, in a letter to staff and parents said yesterday: "On behalf of the governors and the sponsors, I would like to thank Mrs Mathieson for her leadership and for the way in which the new Academy has risen to the challenge which the sponsors set out."
She also reassured staff they will be included in the process of choosing a new principal adding: "We shall seek the very best person for this hugely important post. The Governors are aware we need to appoint someone who will understand the journey that we have already made and has the attributes to lead the academy into the future and thereby continue to improve the life chances of MAP students and our community."