Head with 'excellent track record' picked
THE FACT that the Student Council did not pick the candidate selected from a gruelling four-day interview/selection process for the position of Five Islands' School head teacher has been taken as a positive sign by the governors' appointment panel.
Governors' chairman Ben Julian joked: "They thought she may be a little too strict."
Linda Todd, who starts at the island school in September, is currently on her second headship at Broomfield Primary School in Chelmsford, Essex.
Chosen above two other female candidates and one male, she was "consistently recognised as an exceptional candidate in every task", said Mr Julian.
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Mrs Todd, who comes with a husband, two sons and a Jack Russell, had "an excellent track record" in school improvement, already having led two schools out of the 'satisfactory' Ofsted category, he added.
"Excitingly for our school, she also has considerable experience in an all-through (aged 3-16) school," he said.
Born in Derby of Scottish parents, Mrs Todd trained in Liverpool, gaining an honours degree in education with a specialism in English.
"I have been teaching for 25 years and have been a head teacher for 15 years," she said.
In what she called "a varied career", she has worked in a large British international all- through school in Singapore and both rural and urban schools in Essex.
"We are looking forward to embracing island life," she said.
"We enjoy the outdoors and especially the coast. I love to run and to bake cakes, which I feel balance each other out nicely."
She recognises working in Scilly will "clearly be very different from being on the mainland".
Its isolation "and the school organisation across the islands themselves" would pose new challenges which she was confident she would rise to.
She had no strong views on academy status.
"It's a decision for a governing body to make," she said.
As a head teacher of traditional values, who nevertheless was always keen to embrace new initiatives, she liked to be at the heart of her school and a proactive leader, she said.
Believing that teachers "needed autonomy in their delivery", she had been impressed with what she had learnt so far about the skills of the teaching and leadership teams. The governors, she said, were clearly focused on achieving what was best for the school.
The off-island schools were "part of the unique nature of Five Islands' School" and she intended extending a proactive approach to headship to each of the off-island bases.