A NEW headteacher has finally been appointed for the Thomas Hardye School in Dorchester.

The hunt for a new headteacher began in February 2007 but proved unsuccessful after the school advertised the post three times without finding a suitable successor to former headteacher Dr Iain Melvin.

Dr Melvin agreed to stay at the school for the foreseeable future after the third attempt but stepped down after 20 years at the helm in December last year.

Michael Foley, who has 28 years of experience in education, is the man who has been appointed for the job.

He is currently the headteacher of Great Cornard Upper School in Suffolk and he has previously acted as vice principal, head of humanities and head of history at various other schools in the county.

Mr Foley, 50, said he was ‘delighted’ to have been successful in his job application at the school.

The father-of-four who lives with his wife Teresa and children said: “I’m really excited about moving to Dorset.

“I’ve been in Suffolk all through my career since 1983 and to tell the truth this is the only school that I would have left it for.

“I have followed the school for a long time.

“I am delighted to have been appointed to lead such an outstanding school.

“It’s got a fantastic reputation and I am really proud and very excited.

“I am looking forward to working alongside a dedicated team of staff in order to build on the excellent work that has already been done.”

Mr Foley told how he followed the school after hearing Dr Iain Melvin make a speech at a conference. He said: “I was hugely impressed with what he had to say.

“I hope that I will bring my own experience to Thomas Hardye.

“I hope that I will also bring a lot of enthusiasm with me and the ability to build on the school’s excellent success so far.”

Mr Foley said he would not be relocating his family to Dorset immediately because his 16-year-old daughter was in the middle of her GCSEs – but once she had completed her exams the family would find a permanent base in the county.

He said in the meantime he would live in Dorset during the week and go back to Suffolk to his family home at weekends.

Tony Day, clerk to the governors at Thomas Hardye School, said: “Of all the applicants interviewed, the governors concluded that Mr Foley was the best and the most suitable for the post.

“Having tried for a while to find a successor and we are very pleased.”

Mr Foley will take up his post as headteacher at Thomas Hardye School on September 1.