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Principal appointed to lead new UCL Academy

22 March 2010

  • Press release

Sylvia Jones, headteacher at Valentines High School in Redbridge, north east London, has been appointed Principal of the new UCL Academy, and will take up the post in September 2010.

With more than 25 years’ experience in multi-cultural comprehensive schools in London and Essex, Mrs Jones has been a headteacher for eight years, most recently as head of Valentines High – a school judged by OFSTED to be ‘Outstanding’ in all categories.

Mrs Jones is one of just 300 headteachers to be awarded the title ‘National Leader of Education’ by the National College for School Leadership and Valentines High is one of the most successful comprehensives in the country. The Sixth Form was ranked in the country’s top five percent for the last four years, while 89 per cent of children in the main school achieved five or more A*-C grades at GCSE and no child left the school without earning any qualifications.

Mrs Sylvia Jones, Principal of UCL Academy

“This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for me to help shape an academy from the very beginning,” said Mrs Jones. “From my point of view, one of the most exciting things about this move is the fact that the new school is being established on the principle that children from all backgrounds, and of all abilities, can achieve success if they are given the right support, teaching and curriculum. We demonstrated that at Valentines High, and I’m looking forward to proving it again at the new Academy.

“In addition to shaping our own school, we also have the opportunity to support and strengthen the existing network of schools in Camden,” continued Mrs Jones. “For the last five and a half years I’ve led a school that was designated a ‘training school’ in recognition of all the work we did to provide an intensive programme of support for other schools and teachers, in addition to providing ongoing training for our own staff.

“Training and innovation will be similarly important at the UCL Academy and with UCL’s support we aim to become a centre of excellence for science and mathematics, enabling us to share best practice with other schools in the area.”

UCL’s Vice-Provost (Academic & International) Professor Michael Worton, who chaired the panel which appointed Mrs Jones, said: “UCL is delighted to have made such a strong appointment to this crucial position, and we are looking forward enormously to working with Sylvia to implement our vision for the Academy.”

UCL has also appointed Professor David Price, Vice-Provost (Research), to serve as Chair of the Academy Governing Body. Professor Price added: “As a longstanding resident of Camden, and having previously been a Governor of a Camden Secondary School, I am honoured and delighted to take on the role of Chair of Governors of the new UCL Academy. I look forward to working with Sylvia and the other Governors to create an exciting and excellent new school in Camden that I am determined will serve the borough and provide an outstanding educational experience to its pupils.”

The UCL Academy will be a mixed 11–18 comprehensive school, which will open on Adelaide Road in Swiss Cottage in 2011. The school will specialise in science and mathematics, and will enjoy close links with the university, which is acting as sole sponsor.

Media contact: Dave Weston

Image: Mrs Sylvia Jones, Principal of the UCL Academy