Catrin Woodend, the Head teacher of The Abbey School is retiring after 12 years in charge.

Posted on July 13th 2018

Mrs Woodend, 59, became Head at the Abbey in September 2006, turning it into a thriving and successful community school that has been consistently rated good by Ofsted since 2009. She said the high quality appointments of teachers and support staff has been key to the success of The Abbey. 

“I have the best, most committed teaching and support staff at The Abbey School that I could wish for,


Mrs Woodend


“Strong teaching and good pastoral care has helped our pupils achieve our school motto which is ‘be the best you can be’.” Mrs Woodend has been the driving force behind the school receiving multiple awards, most recently International Baccalaureate (IB) World School Status in 2017. Due to the hard work of staff it also holds the British Council’s gold International Schools Award, granted in 2011 and reaccredited three times since. It’s the highest standard for schools promoting an international dimension and pupils have benefitted from funded trips to Europe and Tahiti. Mrs Woodend was invited to meet the Prime Minister at 10 Downing Street with MP Helen Whately in June for her services to education and the Faversham community.

Careers advice has been prioritised and The Abbey was the first school in east Kent to receive an Investor in Careers award in 2007, which it has retained ever since. The school is now heavily oversubscribed in Year 7 and it is the school of choice for the local community. The sixth form is thriving and students leave with strong CVs, with many students going onto university, college and apprenticeships with training.

Mrs Woodend has also championed sport at The Abbey, resulting in a sports centre opening in 2007 and a state-of-the-art 3G football pitch being built, which was opened in 2012 and is the home of Dover Athletic Academy. Part of her mission was to open the school up to the Faversham community, who now share its sports facilities and attend evening classes. A vocational centre was built in 2007 and in 2014 The Abbey School buildings were given a £1.2m makeover resulting in a new facade, after Mrs Woodend successfully bid for the funding. She has also secured the finance for a new £4m STEM building, which is scheduled to start building in 2019.



Mrs Woodend will leave The Abbey in August when her position will be filled by Deputy Head Dr Roly Speller. She said:

It’s been a privilege to have played a part in the success of The Abbey School and to see it going from strength to strength.

I’m delighted that my Deputy Head Dr Roly Speller has been appointed as my successor and I believe that he is the right person to take The Abbey School forward to the next level of success.

I will miss the staff and pupils as together they have made The Abbey such a fantastic place to be.


Mrs Woodend intends to spend more time travelling in retirement but will remain as a consultant Head teacher to other schools, as well as an advisor to PiXL (Partners in Excellence).

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