Search for new head over at last

Ray Baker, who will take over as headteacher of Lytham St Annes Technology and Perfoming Arts College in January
Ray Baker, who will take over as headteacher of Lytham St Annes Technology and Perfoming Arts College in January

The search is over for the next headteacher of Fylde’s biggest school – and the successor to long-serving Phil Wood has big plans for its future.

Mr Wood will retire at Christmas after 15 years at the helm of Lytham St Annes Technology and Performing Arts College and his replacement from January is to be Ray Baker, currently head of Siddal Moor Sports College in Heywood, near Rochdale.

Mr Baker said: “I am committed to making LSA Technology and Performing Arts College the number one school, not only on the Fylde but across the North West.”

The 41-year-old father-of-two was selected from a shortlist of four during a two-day interview process after five new candidates applied following the re-advertisement of the vacancy last month.

The post was initially advertised before the end of the summer term, but the governors opted to renew the search in the hope of attracting a stronger field of candidates.

Mr Baker has been at Siddal Moor, which has some 990 students, since December 2013. He was previously a deputy head in Rochdale and Blackburn and was among the quintet of new applicants to the re-advertisement, two of whom were shortlisted along with two from the summer advert.

He added: “I am both proud and privileged to have been appointed headteacher and look forward, with genuine enthusiasm and confidence, to a bright and successful future for the school.

“When the opportunity

to apply for the role came up, I didn’t need to think too hard about applying. I knew it was one of Lancashire’s most prestigious and successful schools, set in a part of the country I have always loved. Having grown up in a coastal town in Essex, the pull of the sea has always been there.

“Taking over from Lancashire’s longest-serving headteacher is also a challenge, but Phil Wood has clearly very high standards and has created an excellent base to build on.

“With parents in the area choosing their secondary schools before the end of the month, they can do so knowing that this brilliant school remains committed to continual improvement.

“It is my belief that LSA will now start an exciting journey to becoming truly outstanding.

“Building on academic success, sporting quality and performing excellence, I know the school will be a place that staff, students, parents and everyone in the community will be proud of.”

The Ansdell-based College, which currently has some 1,400 students having decided to close its its sixth form after next summer as an economy measure, has been rated ‘good’ at its last two Ofsted inspections.

Mr Baker added: “Applying for a headteacher post, as a serving headteacher is a big commitment and I only wanted to apply when I knew I could do the school and the governors justice.”

Mr Wood said: “I am sure he will get the same support from staff, parents and students that I have enjoyed over the last 15 years and I trust that he finds the job both professionally challenging and rewarding in equal measure.”