Former science teacher Charles Drew is taking on the challenge of moving Commonweal School to a post-pandemic footing when he takes over as head in September.

He was announced as the new principal this week as the current head, Bob Linnegar prepares to retire in August.

“I’m extremely pleased and excited, and there’s no doubt about the responsibility I’m taking on,” he said. “The Commonweal School means so much to me, and I know it means a huge amount to other people too.

"Bob and I have worked together for many years. I have a huge amount of respect for him. A lot of things he has done in the past four years have been great and very important, especially during the pandemic.

“I know I’ve got a very big pair of shoes to fill because Bob has lived and breathed this school and community for a very long time.

“My plans for the school firstly is to move to be a post-Covid school. That doesn’t mean going back to where we were two years ago, because constant improvement is something we believe in. It means taking the best of the last couple of years and keeping them, as well as new things. Particularly, extracurricular activities such as trips, clubs, activities. More work is to be put into the curriculum and our learning and the way we support our students. There are always ways for us to improve.”

He started working at the school in 2003 as a science teacher. He was then promoted to deputy head of house, the head of science, assistant headteacher, and then deputy headteacher.

Staff, students, and the school governors are preparing for the change in school headship.

Year 8 student Clem said: “Obviously a bit sad as Mr Linnegar has been my headteacher for as long as I can remember, but I am quite excited to have a new one and the big changes that might happen.”

Fellow Year 8 Henry said: “Mr Linnegar has been a good head teacher, it will be sad for him to leave. I’m looking forward to Mr Drew being our new head because he is a good teacher”

Sophie added: "I wish him a happy retirement. Good luck to Mr Drew.”

Parents were pleased with the announcement. Helen Saunders, said on the school's Facebook page: “I’m so pleased to hear this about Mr Drew, he’s such a great support for students and parents and so approachable, this is great news.”

And a former Commonweal staff member Steve Coward added: “Well done - from his earliest days at Commonweal you could see that Chas had the potential to go far - well done from an Old Commonweal member of staff.”