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Mark Bennison – Principal

Brought up locally, having attended the former Grammar School in Borehamwood, Mark is a science graduate of Nottingham University. He began his teaching career in 1983 as a physics teacher at Copthall School, Mill Hill. He went on to teach at schools across Essex and Middlesbrough before becoming both Head of Science and the country’s first ever Advanced Skills Teacher at a challenging school in Basildon. In 2002 he went on to lead in an outstanding school in Thurrock where he became Deputy Headteacher.

Whilst at this school Mark become a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (FRSA), citing and being recognized for his innovative and published work in curriculum development. He has for this and for other visionary work presented both showcase and keynote presentations on national and international conference stages – from Birmingham to Michigan.

From 2006 Mark went on to lead as Vice Principal, closing down a struggling school in West London and opening up what is now one of the highest achieving new academies in that borough. Joining then a multi-academy trust in Luton, as Associate Principal, Mark presided over the closure of a school that had been in Special Measures and the opening of a new academy on the same site. This went on to become one of the top two most improved schools nationally in its first year. In his second year there, Mark worked with the Trust, architects and contractors to design what was to become a £30m new build and this now houses one of the highest achieving schools in that authority.

Mark, also an accredited LLE (Local Leader in Education) and practicing Ofsted Inspector, was appointed Principal at The Hazeley Academy in Milton Keynes in the summer of 2009. Hazeley was also a new build school and one which he grew over his five year tenure, to its capacity of 1500 - including a sixth form offering the International Baccalaureate (IB), A levels and vocational programmes. Mark leaves the school as now one of the highest achieving schools in Milton Keynes and in the top 10% of similar schools nationally.

Mark first became associated with the Avanti Schools Trust when he met the CEO, Nitesh Gor in June 2012. He has since supported the Trust in curriculum development and bid-writing being appointed to the position of Senior Education Officer (Principal) to the Trust. From September 1st 2014, the Trust deployed Mark to the position of Principal of Avanti House School. With considerable experience in headship and in school building projects, Mark takes over this all-through, two-year old, fast-growing, high-achieving and popular school in Harrow, taking the reins from the inaugural Principal, Gareth Jones.

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