Village college appoints new head of school

Richard Auffret takes over at Witchford from Bessie Owen

Richard Auffret takes over as head of school at Witchford Village College from Bessie Owen who will be joining Ofsted. - Credit: WVC

Richard Auffret is the new head of Witchford Village College.  

He takes over after Easter from Bessie Owen who will be joining Ofsted as a schools’ inspector. 

The Eastern Learning Alliance, that runs the school, said in a statement that “Richard was an ideal candidate to take over the role.” 

The alliance said he had spent a significant part of his career at Chesterton Community College “a college that has gone from strength to strength”. 

He embarked on his career at Chesterton teaching geography and computing. 

“He worked up to being part of the senior team that led the transition from an average school to one of the highest performing in the country,” said the alliance. 

Mr Auffret said: “My vision for Witchford is that it keeps its identity while furthering the opportunities for its students.” 

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He said that as a regular visitor to Witchford college “it was impossible to resist to opportunity to become head of school.  

“The enthusiasm, tenacity and togetherness of the community is inspiring.” 

He said: “Since returning to school post lock-down there has been a real buzz in the college and an appreciation of the value of a great, collaborative classroom experience. 

“The students have missed school and the school had missed them.  

“I am excited for the future as the whole school community grows together as we continue to develop our collective wellbeing, vibrant learning and great outcomes” 

Lucy Scott, CEO, Eastern Learning Alliance, said she was delighted “that Witchford's leadership will continue to be both inspirational and aspirational for its community”.  

Rolf Purvis will remain as executive head. 

Ms Scott said that having seen WVC through a significant period of development and change, Bessie will be moving on to the next stage of her career.  

“Bessie’s resilience, professionalism and commitment to the school has resonated with all who have known, attended and worked with her at WVC,” she said. 

“We would like to thank her immensely for steering the school successfully through what have been unprecedented times and wish her well in her new role.” 

Bessie said: “It has been an absolute pleasure to have worked at Witchford since January 2018. 

“I am immensely grateful to the community, students and colleagues who have all made my job such a pleasure.”