A PASSIONATE headteacher who helped turn around a struggling Basildon school has been appointed as the new head of one of Southend’s grammar schools.

Jason Carey is kicking off this school term as the newly appointed chief at Southend High School for Girls.

The straight-talking Yorkshireman, who lives in Leigh, takes on the role after six years at the James Hornsby School, in Laindon.

Mr Carey said: “I had a wonderful time at the James Hornsby School and I helped it become successful.

“So when the opportunity came up at Southend High School for Girls and having lived in the area for some time, it was something I didn’t want to pass up.

“It’s a highly prestigious job - I thought it would be a good opportunity and as much as I loved it at James Hornsby, straight away I feel part of the family here.”

Mr Carey helped transform the James Hornsby School after joining in March 2013, at a time when the school was suffering from falling GCSE results and poor attendance.

The school was rated as requires improvement by Ofsted in March 2014 but in the space of two years, Mr Carey steered it to a good rating in its most recent 2016 inspection.

Speaking about his ambition for his new role, he added: “It’s already an outstanding school with a superb reputation so one of the first things for me is to build on that.

“Delivering assemblies to all year groups on Wednesday, having lunch with students, and teaching my Year Ten English class, have given me opportunities to get to know the school and for students to begin to get to know me.

“At the start of the week, the staff team and I set a very ambitious agenda for SHSG. One thing I did say to everyone is that, as a parent of three kids myself, it’s very important that I lead the school through the eyes of a parent and it’s all about the students.

“I also spent time with the Student Leadership Team, where they outlined their ideas for the school.

“I have been very impressed by the talent, ambition and commitment I have encountered - it is abundantly clear that I will be leading a school with such a positive ethos and full of fantastic students.

“Working in partnership with students, staff, parents, governors and the local community, I am genuinely excited about the times ahead and playing my part in the next exciting chapter of SHSG’s journey of excellence.”

Mr Carey, who began his career at Shoebury High School, added his aim is to ensure SHSG is recognised as one of the very best schools regionally, nationally and internationally.

In a letter to parents, James Hornsby chair of governors Brian Griffiths said the school was “indebted” to Mr Carey and confirmed Daniel Steel as its new head.