New leader for trust running 18 schools in Dorset and south Somerset

A NEW CEO has been appointed at a trust over seeing 18 schools in Dorset and South Somerset.

The Sherborne Area Schools’ Trust (SAST) has confirmed David Watson OBE as their new chief.

SAST schools include The Gryphon School in Sherborne, King Arthur’s School in Wincanton, Shaftesbury School and Sturminster Newton High School.

Mr Watson undertook previous roles including headships in Birmingham and Manchester, a number of leader and director-level positions at national and regional level, as well as being an Ofsted inspector.

“I am delighted to be appointed as the CEO for SAST,” he said. “I am looking forward to working with the SAST staff team, trustees and academy committee members to deliver for all the children within our schools.”

He has previously held CEO roles at both Changing Live in Collaboration Trust, and most recently at Venturer’s Trust. He was awarded an OBE in the 2019 New Year’s Honour’s List for his services to education.

SAST chair of trustees, David Middleton, said: “The board is delighted to appoint a candidate of David’s calibre and experience to succeed interim CEO Brian Hooper.

“David has a clear and exciting vision for his work ahead in SAST, based on his passion for equity and excellence in education.

“He has the leadership skills and operational experience to build on the significant progress made over the last few months, and to chart a course for sustained further improvement in the years to come.

“I would like to thank Brian for his excellent contribution to SAST as interim CEO.

“He hands over a fundamentally much-improved organisation and I am glad that he will continue to work with SAST in a supporting role.”

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I am the editor in chief of Blackmore Vale media, which includes the New Blackmore Vale, New Stour & Avon, Salisbury & Avon Gazette and the Purbeck Gazette, having been a reporter for some 20 years. In my spare time, I am a festival lover, with a particular focus on Glastonbury. I live in Somerset with my wife and two children.