Warm tributes following death of visionary Catcote Academy CEO Alan Chapman

Warm tributes have been paid to a ‘truly remarkable’ Hartlepool education leader who has died.

Friday, 18th October 2019, 6:00 am
Updated Friday, 18th October 2019, 11:02 am
Alan Chapman CEO of Catcote Academy. Picture by Frank Reid.

Alan Chapman, who was CEO of Hartlepool Aspire Trust, which runs Catcote Academy, Catcote Futures and Catcote Sixth Form, passed away on Tuesday, October 15 after a short illness. He was 67.

Friends and colleagues have described him as inspirational, a visionary and was devoted to giving young people with disabilities and additional needs the best education and opportunities in life.

A book of condolence has been placed in the reception at Catcote Academy.

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Lisa Greig, Deputy CEO at Catcote Academy and Catcote Futures, said: “Alan was an incredible leader, respected by staff and students and we are all absolutely devastated.

“Alan was so devoted to all of our students – entirely committed and passionate about their learning and progress.

“Over the coming weeks, we will make plans to honour Alan’s memory. For now, our priority is to respond sensitively and thoughtfully to his family and the staff and students he worked so closely with.

“A book of condolence is being placed in the reception area for people to leave their thoughts and messages.

“The Catcote community has so much to thank Alan for and will never be the same again.

“We will all feel the loss together, but know that he would want us to continue to provide the best for all of our children.”

In recent years, he oversaw a number of exciting developments including the opening of the academy’s Catcote Metro shop in Middleton Grange shopping centre and The Vestry Cafe in Hartlepool Art Gallery, which both provide work placement opportunities for students.

Sally Robinson, Director of Children’s and Commissioned Services at Hartlepool Borough Council, said: “Alan was a truly remarkable man who touched the lives of all he met and our thoughts are with his family and the entire Catcote community at this very sad time.

“As a headteacher, Alan inspired so many students and through his tireless commitment, vision and outstanding leadership he has supported his pupils to achieve world class outcomes.

“Just this month, Catcote was named Special Education Needs Champion at the Careers Excellence Awards in London for their approach to careers education – a true testament to Alan’s visionary leadership.”

Hartlepool MP Mike Hill also paid tribute describing Alan as a “true influencer and visionary in the world of SEND Education”.

He said: “I was saddened to hear the news of Alan’s passing, he was a good friend and a person who I had the highest respect for.

“Although his work gained national recognition he was first and foremost a local lad who’s only priority was the wellbeing and education of children and young people, and to give them a future; which Catcote Academy does so well.

“Under his leadership the school went from strength to strength ultimately becoming a multi site chain incorporating the academy, Catcote Sixth Form College and Catcote Futures.

“I have had the privilege and honour to visit them all and on each and every occasion I always remember a wide eyed Alan Chapman fizzing with energy, bursting with ideas and chasing down the next project with as much vigour and energy as the white rabbit out of Alice in Wonderland.”

Mr Hill added: “He protected his students, cherished them and supported them into adulthood and more often than not into the world of work.

“A gentleman, a genius and a true Hartlepool legend; may he rest in peace.”