Ormiston Rivers Principal to retire after decade of success

Ormiston Rivers Academy has announced that its longstanding Principal, Mrs Joan Costello, is set to retire at the end of the academic year.

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Mrs Costello first joined the academy as Principal in 2009, and her unwavering leadership over the last decade has overseen its transformation to become one of the highest performing non-selective schools in the region.

Joan’s headship has led the academy through a number of key milestones, not least taking the school, formerly St Peter’s High School, from ‘Special Measures’ in 2009, to achieving a ‘Good’ Ofsted rating in 2013. The academy’s stability and success was confirmed again in 2016 when it received its second ‘Good’ rating, praising Joan and the senior leadership team for maintaining a good quality of education and transforming the ethos of the school.

It was also under Joan’s leadership that the school joined Ormiston Academies Trust (OAT), in a move that has continued to hugely benefit the academy and its students and staff. In the years since joining the network, alongside gaining two ‘Good’ Ofsted ratings, Ormiston Rivers has benefitted from over £11m worth of investment to build brand new state-of-the-art buildings, boosting the overall regeneration of the school site.

The academy has also celebrated considerable success in academic attainment. In 2017, the GCSE results led to the academy being named as the top non-selective school in Essex for performance, as well as being ranked in the top 10% of schools in the country. This year, the academy sustained these strong results once again. Since 2009, the number of students on roll has almost doubled, alongside attracting high calibre staff, which has created an industrious environment which was by praised by Ofsted inspectors, and position Ormiston Rivers’ as the academy of choice locally.

The academy has now launched its recruitment process to appoint its new Principal, who will be starting the role in the new 2019/20 academic year. Joan, alongside the Board of Governors and OAT, will be working closely with the appointee to support their transition.

Joan Costello, outgoing Principal at Ormiston Rivers Academy, said:

"It is with a heavy heart that I retire as Principal of Ormiston Rivers Academy at the end of the academic year, but I am so proud of how far the academy has come in the last 10 years. Getting the academy to the place that it is today has very much been a team effort and would not have been possible without the support and collective hard work of the senior leadership team, staff, students, parents, Board of Governors and the support of Ormiston Academies Trust.

"It has been both a pleasure and a privilege to serve children and young people in the local area for so many years and I look forward to working closely with the new Principal, when appointed, as they settle into the role. I have no doubt that the academy will continue to go from strength to strength and I will be following its journey closely in the months and years to come."

Nick Hudson, Chief Executive Officer of Ormiston Academies Trust said:

"On behalf of the Trust, I would like to thank Joan for the tireless hard work, commitment and passion she has shown throughout her hugely success headship over the last decade. The turnaround of the academy, which has taken Ormiston Rivers to the high-performing, school of choice in the local area that it is today, is testament to Joan and her leadership.

"Reflective of the popularity and respect for Joan, we know that her replacement will have big shoes to fill, and we are confident that we will attract first class candidates to build on Joan’s legacy. We wish Joan all the best as she moves towards retirement, and look forward to watching the Academy continue to prosper and grow in its latest chapter."