5th January 2016

Dear Parents / Carers,

I am proud to announce that Mrs. Jennie Walker has been appointed as the new full time Executive Principal of the Atlantic Centre of Excellence Multi Academy Trust (ACE MAT).

The appointment was made in the last week of last term following a rigorous interview attended by myself, Steve Dunn (a Member of ACE) and Paul Jones O.B.E. (an independent Executive Principal) nominated by the Department of Education and Regional Commissioner, Sir David Carter.

Jennie brings a great deal of experience and expertise to the ACE Trust gained through three headships, local authority level working and inspection. She has been involved in ACE since its inception and has been a prime mover in the formulation of its vision.

Of course, for us as parents at Gatehouse ACE Academy, this is a ‘win win’ situation as Jennie will continue to work with and influence our academy and in addition we are confident that ACE will continue on its current innovative path, whilst retaining its vision and ethos.

The position of Executive Principal is a new one nationally and has evolved as the academy world has developed. Essentially Jennie will be the Chief Executive Officer and Accounting Officer of a very large business, made up of just over three hundred and thirty staff and just under two thousand children. Jennie will be supported in this role by a business team of 5 members led by our Business Director Mrs. Gill Harper. This team and Jennie will be based in offices at St Columb Minor Academy.

On a day to day basis you will not see any change at Gatehouse ACE Academy. Mrs Jeffery, as Headteacher, will continue to be responsible for the day to day running of the school. Mrs Jeffery will continue to be supported by Mrs Shanahan, Deputy Headteacher, Mrs Prouse, SENCO and Mrs Pyne and Mrs Ames as team leaders. This team of very experienced leaders will work under the guidance of Jennie Walker and the ACE Trust Board of Directors.

If you have any questions and queries about any aspect of your child’s education or experiences at school please contact the school office and they will help to signpost you to the most appropriate classteacher or leadership team member. In the first instance it is always best to speak to your child’s classteacher but you may feel it more appropriate to speak to the relevant Key Stage Leader. If your issue relates to any aspect of ‘inclusion’ e.g. Special Educational Needs, Attendance, Behaviour / Pastoral Support, etc. then you will need to speak to Mrs Prouse. For more serious concerns or private sensitive matters Mrs Jeffery, as Headteacher, will be the most appropriate staff member. Remember that you are always welcome to request an appointment with your Chair of Governors if you feel that this is appropriate.

As this is first time that I have written to you this year I would like to wish you all a ‘Happy New Year’ and I hope that you will join me in offering my congratulations to Jennie on her new appointment.


Phil Mason

Chair of Directors

Atlantic Centre of Excellence Multi Academy Trust