Gerard MacMahon, Sheldon's headteacher, is leaving the school in July 2012 to become headmaster of Al Khor International School in Qatar.
Mr MacMahon, who is 46, has been head at Sheldon since April 2004 and that eight years has seen a lot of change in the school. The school has grown from 1,550 pupils to over 1,800 and the new sixth form centre and refectory have been built. The school had two successful Ofsted inspections. The second, in 2008, judged Sheldon to be outstanding in all 38 judgements. The school gained specialisms in sport and languages, became an academy and was one of England's first 100 Teaching Schools.
Mr MacMahon wrote to Sheldon's staff:
"I think you all know how much I have enjoyed the privilege of being Sheldon’s headteacher for the last eight years. I could not imagine being tempted away by an English school. The post in Qatar is an exceptional opportunity."
Al Khor International School is owned by the world’s two largest liquefied natural gas companies. Its purpose is to provide a free world-class schooling for the companies’ employees. There are 3,600 pupils aged 4 to 18 and this is due to grow to 4,500 over the next few years. Most of the school follows a British curriculum of iGCSEs and A levels, with about a third following an Indian curriculum. Teaching is in English, but the school is truly international.
Qatar is a small country in the Middle East. It occupies a peninsula north of Saudi Arabia, jutting into the Persian Gulf. It has a population of only 1.7 million, three quarters of whom come from abroad. Qatar is now the world's richest country in terms of income per head and it is due to host the World Cup in 2022.
Sheldon will be advertising for a new headteacher in January and the appointment is likely to confirmed in March.