Becky Francis, Gary Futcher and Sarah Clarke

Professor Becky Francis, a leading education academic and parliamentary adviser, will lead the Institute of Education (IoE) from July.

She starts her new job as director of the leading research organisation, which is part of University College London, on July 1 after almost four years as professor of education and social justice and director of research at King’s College London.

Prof Francis said she took the role at the IoE because it is “the biggest job in education research in the UK and being able to have a hand in strategically directing it feels like an amazing opportunity as well as responsibility”.

This appointment also follows her stint as an adviser to the education select committee.

She is the permanent replacement for Chris Husbands, who became vice-chancellor at Sheffield Hallam University in January.

Prof Francis said one of the challenges would be to “strengthen the already multidisciplinary nature of the IoE’s research through the resources available at UCL”.

Another is to “maintain and strengthen even further the IoE’s reputation as the place for educationalists, researchers, schools leaders, in supporting high quality education.”

Before she joined King’s, Prof Francis was also a director of the Pearson thinktank and served as director of education for the RSA.

Sarah Clark has been appointed principal of Sheffield’s second University Technical College (UTC).

The new £10 million UTC Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park campus will open in September and will cater for 600 students, aged 14 to 19, specialising in human sciences and computing.

Ms Clark, who starts in post next week, said she will work collaboratively with UTC Sheffield City Centre campus – the region’s first UTC that opened in 2013 – and “share best practice on delivering technical and academic qualifications, employer led projects and work experience opportunities”.

As principal, Ms Clark said she will structure the curriculum around “exciting and innovative projects”, with support from industry and graduate role models.

She added: “Students will have the opportunity to participate in national competitions and events. Whether this includes competitive sport, research or community projects, these activities will not only support mastery of our specialisms but also widen each individual’s skills set.”

Ms Clark has held a variety of senior roles in education for 11 to 18-year-olds across Derbyshire and Staffordshire. Prior to joining UTC Sheffield, she was principal and vice principal at Landau Forte Academy Sixth Form, West Midlands.

She has a PhD in molecular genetics from the University of Leicester and a first class degree in microbiology from the University of Bristol.

Gary Futcher is the new headteacher of All Saints Academy Plymouth (ASAP) after more than eight years as deputy headteacher of nearby Notre Dame School Plymouth.

The appointment of Mr Futcher follows the retirement of Pete Grainger from ASAP in December.

Mr Futcher said his main goal is to push forward on expectations and aspirations by using the mantra “be the best you can be”, because that will “offer pupils loads more opportunities later in life and I am about giving students the best education to give the most opportunities they’ve got so that they can choose where they end up.

“The second side of it is to really look at us as a Church of England school and putting faith into education and into action in the school.”

Mr Futcher studied English and drama at Manchester University before launching a marketing career in theatre.

This is the first time he has led a school since he retrained and became a teacher 21 years ago.

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