An independent Croydon school has appointed its first new headteacher in eight years.

Mrs Jane Burton is set to take up her new appointment at Old Palace of John Whitgift school, an independent girls’ prep and secondary with a co-educational nursery, from September 1.

She will succeed Mrs Carol Jewell who has been at the school in various roles for more than two decades.

On her appointment, Mrs Burton said: “I am thrilled to be appointed to this role. Old Palace is an excellent school with a very exciting future and I am honoured that I will be leading the school through the next stage of its history.”

The announcement comes as Old Palace was rated in the top 30 independent schools in London in the Sunday Times Parent Power Schools Guide 2019.

Mrs Burton brings with her experience as former Head of Wallington High School for Girls, Deputy Head at Nonsuch High School for Girls and most recently as Chief Executive of the Girls’ Learning Trust (GLT) where she spearheaded the strategic development of the UK’s first all-girls multi-academy trust.

She was responsible for developing and growing the GLT to merge two competing girls’ grammar schools, Wallington High School for Girls and Nonsuch High School for Girls, and most recently Carshalton High School for Girls, providing strategic support to Heads, refining governance structures and aligning systems and procedures across all three schools.

Old Palace is one of the oldest buildings in central Croydon dating back to the 12th century and has played host to Royalty including Elizabeth I and many Archbishops of Canterbury over the centuries.

Christopher Houlding, Chairman, The Whitgift Foundation, said: “As Governors, we were totally committed to ensuring that we appointed someone who genuinely identified with Old Palace’s highly regarded traditions, ethos and academic rigour.

"We believe that Mrs Burton has the expertise, passion and commitment to build on the outstanding work of Mrs Jewell and continue the School’s journey as a leader in modern girls’ education.

"With Croydon set for imminent redevelopment and regeneration, this is an immensely exciting time in the history and future of the school.”