Everton Free School has appointed Steven Baker as its new Principal, the school was created by Everton Football Club to deliver alternative educational opportunities.
The appointment comes as Richard Cronin retired from his post as Principal after nine years of service at Everton Free School – six years as Principal.
Currently the Executive Headteacher of two Outstanding schools in Merseyside, Steven has been in education for more than15 years, the majority of which has been working with children with Social, Emotional and Mental Health Difficulties (SEMH).
He is also the Merseyside Programme Director for charity Right to Succeed, which focuses on improving outcomes for children and young people.
Everton in the Community created history in September 2012 when it was the first Football Club Community scheme in the country to be awarded funding by the Government to open a Free School, a ground-breaking initiative for young people across Merseyside.
Everton Free School & Football College aims to offer alternative educational opportunities and experiences to young people aged 13-19.
Now, in his new role at Everton Free School, Steven is looking forward to bringing in his breadth of experience in mental health and wellbeing, helping to enhance the lives of students and building their futures.
“Everton Free School really stood out from the crowd for me – the work the school does to tailor education to offer alternative opportunities and hone in on mental health support is incredible.
“I’m thrilled to be part of the team now and am looking forward to involving both the Club and Everton in the Community to help make Everton Free School the very best school it can be.
“Prior to beginning my journey in education, I worked for the United Nations investigating war crimes and collecting evidence of the Bosnian genocide. What I experienced as part of that role had a profound effect on me, my personal principles and how I wanted to contribute towards the future. I wanted to help develop a more cohesive society, having witnessed first-hand the worst humanity had to offer. I came into teaching with the intention of promoting social justice, supporting the most disadvantaged children and to act as an advocate striving for a level playing field to develop their future life chances.”
A former Ofsted inspector, Steven has led on a number of national programmes relating to wellbeing, managing challenging behaviour and leading strategic change. In 2017 he co-wrote an online behaviour management course and two years later, was made a Founding Fellow of the Chartered College of Teaching for his ‘significant and sustained’ impact on teaching.
Other key accolades include the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service as a member of the Remembering Srebrenica Northwest Board and, last year, he was awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List, in recognition of his services to education.
Sir John Jones, Chair of Governors at Everton Free School, said:
“We’re delighted to welcome Steven on board and cannot wait to see how his experience, passion and expertise help shape the future of Everton Free School.
“Richard Cronin has been at the forefront of the school’s success thus far and, for that, we are extremely grateful. As we move into our new chapter with Steven at the helm, we’re looking forward to building on this success and continuing to truly enhance the lives of young people in our area.”