Woodkirk Academy welcomes new headteacher

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Woodkirk Academy’s next headteacher has told the Observer & Advertiser she is grateful for the opportunity to lead the school.

Joe Barton will take over the day-to-day running of the school in September following the retirement of current head Jonathan White.

Mrs Barton, who has been deputy head at Woodkirk for five years, praised Mr White and said it was an honour to become head of a school with “such a unique family atmosphere.”

She said: “I’m just so pleased that I’ve been given the opportunity to take the school forward and continue the hard work that’s already been done.

“It’s a fantastic school and I’m very grateful to the governors who have given me the opportunity.

Mrs Barton, who started her career as a music teacher in Birmingham before moving to Yorkshire, said that Woodkirk had shown “tremendous resilience” in the face of wholesale changes to the education system over recent years and added that the individual student was always the first consideration of any change adopted by Woodkirk.

Every day our students do amazing things and we have fantastic staff who work exceptionally hard.

Joe Barton

“Every day our students do amazing things and we have fantastic staff who work exceptionally hard,” she added.

And she paid tribute to Mr White, who is stepping down after 32 years in various roles at Woodkirk:

“He has been a fabulous mentor and friend and he has enabled me to take on things that perhaps a deputy head wouldn’t normally take on, such as developing the new buildings and estate, and we do have more plans to develop our sports facilities further, and I’d like to thank him for the opportunities he’s provided me with.”

Mr White, who has served as head for 10 years, said he was delighted for his successor, saying “In the changing landscape of education, both locally and nationally, continuity is essential.

“Joe possesses the drive, skills and enthusiasm to successfully lead the fantastic school.”

Reflecting on his memories as a teacher at the school, he said that the highlight of his career was observing the development of students into “emotionally mature adults ready for the outside world”.

“The pupils come in as little children, you see them grow up and then to see them leave for the last time as they walk down that drive as young adults - there’s no better job in the world.”