Camilla Thornalley, interim JMA principal. Photo courtesy of (c) John Madejski Academy, Reading.

Whitley’s John Madejski Academy (JMA) has a new interim principal in Camilla Thornalley. She has replaced Laura Ellener, who started a new job as head teacher at Chiswick School, a 1300-student secondary academy in Hounslow, earlier this year.

Camilla Thornalley was appointed interim principal during the October 2018 half-term and had worked with Laura Ellener for the previous twelve years. Ms Thornalley joined the JMA in September 2017 as vice-principal.

Ms Thornalley will remain as interim principal until the White Horse Federation Trust (WHF) recruit a permanent one. A JMA spokesperson said:

Camilla is an experienced senior leader with an excellent track record in whom Laura and the staff at JMA have full confidence. Together with the existing leadership team and staff, she will continue to build on the fantastic work Laura started in improving outcomes and ensuring students are happy and successful.

Camilla is the best candidate for the interim role because of her outstanding performance and significant experience in working alongside Laura Ellener both at JMA and in her previous role.

The WHF recognise that its staff are fundamental to its success and we therefore need to be able to attract and retain staff of the highest calibre. The recruitment process is necessary to ensure diligence in sourcing the very best principal for JMA’s future, even if that results in an internal promotion.

“I am proud and privileged to be appointed interim principal of John Madejski Academy,” said Camilla Thornalley. “My aim is to build on the fantastic work of Laura Ellener, working with the existing senior leadership team to ensure that we continue to raise standards and improve outcomes across the school. High expectations of behaviour, teaching and learning and leadership are non-negotiable and we are committed to ensuring that the academy provides a high quality education so that every student achieves their full potential.”

Laura Ellener was JMA principal for two years. The JMA said that her new role means she can work closer to her London home and so can spend more time with her family. She oversaw the school’s removal from special measures in September 2017 as well as the school’s association with the WHF multi-academy trust in January 2018.

The JMA confirmed that there has been no Ofsted inspection of the school since September 2017, but all schools rated as requiring improvement are re-inspected within 30 months of the previous one.

  1. The John Madejski Academy
  2. The White Horse Federation
  3. The John Madejski Academy at the Whitley Pump