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Charter Academy Principal to step down after seven years leading school

The Principal of Portsmouth’s highest-performing secondary has paid testament to the school’s turnaround in a letter announcing that she would be resigning this summer.

Dame Sharon Hollows, Principal at Charter Academy, said that she would be stepping down from the role at the end of the academic year, having led the academy for seven years – during which it went from being Portsmouth’s worst-performing school to the most improved in the country.

Charter Academy was previously known as St. Luke’s before joining the Ark network of high-performing schools in 2009. In the last year before joining Ark, only 21% of students achieved five good GCSEs, including English and maths. In 2015, 73% achieved that standard.

In a letter to parents at the school, Dame Sharon wrote: “These past few years have been among the most rewarding of my professional career, but I feel that the time is right for me to make a change.

“Seven years ago, when I became the founding Principal of Charter Academy, the challenges we faced were enormous. Our predecessor school, St Luke’s had among the lowest GCSE results in the country, and was known to be the worst school in Portsmouth.

“Today, Charter is recognised as the best school in the city, and has been recognised nationally for its turnaround. I am very proud of all that we have accomplished - staff, students and parents all working together.”

Last year, the school won a national £250,000 award for its innovative and successful use of Pupil Premium funding and was named as the most improved school in the country.

Dame Sharon has announced that she will continue to work for Ark as an educational consultant, whilst Senior Vice Principal Clive Barnes has been announced as Charter’s interim Principal from September.