TWO new headteachers recruited to run Didcot’s secondary schools have vowed to raise their Ofsted ratings to ‘outstanding’.

Didcot Girls School has announced that Rachael Warwick, deputy head at Eynsham’s Bartholomew School, will take over from acting head Fernand Dierckens in September.

And Alwyn Richards, currently vice-principal of Thurston College in Suffolk, will replace St Birinus headmaster Chris Bryan, who is retiring after 31 years at the school.

Both new heads come from schools rated outstanding by school inspectors and say they want to achieve the same at their new schools.

Mrs Warwick, 40, said she was absolutely delighted at her appointment.

She added: “I worked at St Birinus 14 years ago in the English department and got to know the girls’ school fairly well because of the joint sixth form.

“I have always had very fond memories of Didcot and it is a school with massive potential. It will be very exciting for both schools.”

Governors and parents have praised Mr Dierckens for leading moves to tighten discipline and improve behaviour since September, following the retirement of the previous head.

Last May, an Ofsted report highlighted the disruptive behaviour of some pupils. The report came weeks after headteacher Paula Taylor-Moore said some pupils had lost their personal dignity.

The inspection graded the school satisfactory, lower than the previous inspection in 2006, when it was rated good with outstanding features.

In a school newsletter last year, the former head described some girls using bad language, wearing overly short skirts and too much make-up.

Mrs Warwick said: “Clearly it is not for me to judge a previous headteacher's words.

“But my approach is one of fairness and being open with parents, students and staff about having high standards, and working very hard to make sure that becomes a reality on a day-to-day basis.”

Mrs Warwick said: “The priority will be to build on the good work over the last 12 months in response to the improvement priorities which came from Ofsted, and continuing the drive to improve behaviour across the school.”

Chairman of governors David Locke said: “Mrs Warwick is the right person to put Didcot Girls’ School back in its place as one of the premier schools in Oxfordshire.

“She shone as an exceptional candidate.”

Mr Richards, 40, who also starts work in September, said there were “big shoes to fill” at St Birinus.

The father-of-three said: “My family and I are hugely excited about moving to the area.

“The warmth of welcome we have received from staff and people in Didcot has been overwhelming. September 2010 cannot come quickly enough.”

Chris Bryan, 60, who started at the boys’ school in 1979, is retiring after 22 years as headteacher.

Over the years, it has grown from 650 pupils to 1,250, set up the combined sixth form with Didcot Girls’ School, and opened purpose-built facilities for music, maths, humanities and learning support, as well as a new state-of-the-art £4.7m science centre.

He said: “Every single year has been an enjoyable one, but I think it is the right time for me to be handing over to someone else.”