The principal of a Swindon secondary school is stepping down after receiving treatment for cancer, it has been revealed.

Nick Wells has been in charge at Nova Hreod Academy, on Akers Way, for five years.

But in a letter sent to parents on Thursday morning, bosses at the school's academy trust revealed that Mr Wells had decided to step down after treatment for cancer.

The popular head will stand down at Easter, and an interim principal will be appointed for the summer term.

A full-time replacement will start in September, at the start of the new school year.

In a letter to parents, Sir Jon Coles and Ben Antell, chief executive and director of secondary academies at United Learning, the trust which runs Nova Hreod, said: "This is not a decision he has taken lightly but is one he feels is in the best interest of the school and his health.

"We would like to thank him for his leadership of the school and for his undoubted commitment to the young people and community he has served here."

This news has shocked parents of children at the school, with one telling the Advertiser: "He was a very popular man."

United Learning is now beginning the process of recruiting a permanent successor for Mr Wells.

Mr Coles and Mr Antell added: "In the meantime, we will be conducting an internal process to identify an Interim Principal to lead the school during the Summer Term and will inform parents and students of this appointment as soon as possible.

"Whilst we will be sad to see Mr Wells step down, we wish him the very best for the future and very much hope that he will now have the opportunity to recover fully. Thank you for your understanding and ongoing support."

Last year Ofsted Inspectors judged that Nova Hreod Academy continues to be rated good in the school’s first routine inspection since the COVID-19 pandemic began. 

In response to that Mr Wells praised his staff, saying: “I am thrilled that Ofsted has confirmed Nova continues to be a good school.

"This outcome is down to our staff’s determination to deliver an education with character to our young people, as well as to our students’ impressive dedication to their studies."

The school, under Mr Wells' leadership, was also widely praised for its sensitive handling of the death of one of its students - Harry Parker - who was killed in a suspected hit-and-run on Akers Way.