Chief executive retires from school near Bedford after nine years

Iain Denning navigated complex change to two-tier education in the town in 2017

By Clare Turner
Monday, 27th July 2020, 10:37 am
Updated Monday, 27th July 2020, 10:40 am

Sharnbrook Academy Federation (SAF) announced its chief executive, Iain Denning, is to retire after nine years at the helm.

In his time leading SAF, a group of five high-performing schools across Bedfordshire, he has overseen all of its key moments.

He was the driving force behind the opening of Great Ouse Primary Academy in September 2017, and the creation of the Pilgrim Learning Trust, which enabled 32 schools to share best practise and ideas for school improvement.

Iain Denning

Among his achievements, Mr Denning navigated the trust and its academies through the complex change to two-tier education in Bedford in 2017, which saw Lincroft Academy become a secondary, Sharnbrook Academy become a secondary with a sixth form, Harrold Lower and Harrold Priory merge into Harrold Primary Academy and Oakley Lower extend into Oakley Primary Academy.

Mr Denning said: “It has been an incredibly difficult decision to decide to step down but I believe that seeing in the very important new academic year, and making that a success, marks the right time to step down.”

Dr Jeremy Reynolds, chair of Sharnbrook Academy Federation, said: “Our trust and academies have gone from strength to strength with Iain as chief executive - his outstanding, clear-sighted leadership over the past nine years has been central to this success.”

Mr Denning will remain in his current role until the end of September.