THE principal of Atlantic Academy Portland has left with immediate effect.

Jonathan Heap, who has been at the school for two years, has stepped down ahead of starting a new position as principal of an academy in London.

The news was announced in a letter sent to parents and carers.

As reported, Mr Heap was previously due to step down as principal on August 31 this year.

Steve Kenning, managing director of Aspirations Academy Trust, said in the letter to parents: "As has previously been communicated, Jonathan Heap will be leaving his position as principal at Atlantic Academy Portland to take up the post of principal of an academy in London.

"I am writing to advise you that we have agreed for him to leave Atlantic with immediate effect to move to his new position.

"Jonathan has done an outstanding job. We are extremely grateful for his hard work and leadership and wish him the very best in his new role."

Lesley Bishop and Melissa Heppell will take over as joint principals of the school. Mr Kenning said: "Jonathan Heap has been released by the Trust to take up his new role by mutual consent, this is usual practice when the replacement principal is available.

"We are delighted that the new joint principals of Atlantic Academy Portland, Melissa Heppell and Lesley Bishop are stepping up from their vice principal roles."

Mr Heap joined Atlantic Academy, formerly IPACA, in 2017 when it became part of the Aspirations Academy Trust. At the time he said he was determined to see ‘fast but sustainable’ progress as he looked to improve standards at the school.

It has been a turbulent year so far for headteachers in the area.

In January, Budmouth College announced that its headteacher Richard Jacobs would not be returning to the school. He had been on a leave of absence since November 2018.

Soon after the college announced it was going to join Aspirations Academies Trust from September 1, with David Herbert becoming the new principal. There has been concern about the academy move for Budmouth with protests taking place.

The Wey Valley School's principal, Sara Adams, also left her post in January when she retired. She was replaced with interim principal Carol Watson. The school, based in Weymouth, is set to join Ambitions Academies Trust on June 1.

Following Wey Valley to become an academy with Ambitions on June 1 is All Saints School, Weymouth. Acting headteacher of All Saints Brian Boyes, who took over last year, has accepted a director position in a multi-academy trust and is being replaced by John Cornish.