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Head teachers at New Milton's Arnewood School and Christchurch's the Grange School stepping down

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CHANGES are coming to two secondary schools in the New Forest and Christchurch as their head teachers prepare to step down.

Nigel Pressnell, who has led Arnewood School in New Milton for seven years, is taking a top job in the trust which oversees it.

Meanwhile, at Christchurch’s The Grange School, Liz Garman is retiring after four years as head.

Arnewood head Nigel Pressnell with pupils
Arnewood head Nigel Pressnell with pupils

Mr Pressnell leaves his post in January 2023 having seen Arnewood, in Gore Road, through major refurbishment and pandemic challenges.

He will become chief executive of the Gryphon Multi-Academy Trust, which also incorporates Eaglewood School for pupils outside mainstream education.

Mr Pressnell said: “One of the things I am most proud about during my time is the strong relationships between the staff and the students. It is the warmest school I have taught at.

“We have four Ukrainian students here at the moment and I’m so proud of the way they’ve settled in and how everyone has made them welcome, and together we’ve made a real difference.”

Mr Pressnell joined Arnewood 21 years ago, appointed by predecessor Chris Hummerstone as deputy head in charge of the sixth form and as a design technology and computing teacher.

He credited its technological advancements, including an iPad scheme, with aiding the transition to home education when lockdowns hit in 2020.

Improvements overseen by Mr Pressnell included a recent investment of over £1m to transform a former automotive engineering building into a hub for the arts.

Grange head Liz Garman is retiring
Grange head Liz Garman is retiring

His new trust role will see him develop it in line with Department for Education policy for academies to work in stronger groups of at least 10 schools by 2030.

Stressing the change will not affect the school, he said: “I will remain based at Arnewood and might well mentor the new appointment when he or she begins next year. It will be the start of another exciting chapter in Arnewood’s story.”

Mrs Garman retires as The Grange head of school at the end of the academic year having led the Redvers Road institution to its first ‘good’ Ofsted rating in over a decade.

Following a stint of over 20 years at Twynham School, she joined in 2018 shortly after The Grange was rated ‘inadequate’.

Executive head teacher for both schools, Jy Taylor, praised Mrs Garman and her team’s “remarkable” achievements, including during the pandemic.

“I know that Liz is now keen to take a well-earned rest and spend some time with her husband at their home in France,” Mr Taylor said.

“I am sure that students and parents alike will want to wish her well in her retirement.”

Deborah Hawkins, currently vice-principal at the ‘outstanding’ Glenmoor and Winton academies in Bournemouth, will replace Mrs Garman in September.

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