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Tributes paid to 'brilliant' Essex headteacher who died after accident in France

Headteacher Simon Gibbs who died in an suspected accident in France (New Rickstones Academy)
Headteacher Simon Gibbs who died in an suspected accident in France (New Rickstones Academy)

Tributes have been paid to a “brilliant” Essex headteacher who died in an apparent accident while holidaying with friends in France.

Simon Gibbs, principal of New Rickstones Academy in Witham, Essex, died on Saturday evening, the school said in a letter to parents.

In the letter, Johanna Thompson, the academy’s regional education director, described Mr Gibbs as a “much-loved” colleague and a “brilliant” headteacher.

She said: “From what we understand there was an accident on Saturday evening whilst Simon was away for the weekend with some friends in France.

“This is obviously devastating news, and our immediate thoughts are with Simon’s family at this impossible time.”

She added: “Simon was a much-loved colleague and brilliant headteacher and we will miss him enormously.

“He will be remembered for his integrity and passion for teaching, as well as his dedication to the community of New Rickstones.”

New Rickstones Academy, Essex (Google Maps)
New Rickstones Academy, Essex (Google Maps)

The school said it was looking at finding a way to commemorate his memory, and said all staff and students affected by the tragedy would be offered support.

According to reports, Mr Gibbs took over as the school’s head in September 2021, and was previously assistant head and deputy head.

He had previously been head of mathematics at another school in Witham, and studied at Cardiff University, graduating with a masters degree in financial economics.

Parents of children at New Rickstones Academy, a comprehensive secondary school, sent their condolences to his family after hearing the news.

“My girls are gutted and so are we,” said one on social media.

“He was an amazing teacher and Head Teacher. He cared so much about his pupils. Sending hugs to his family and colleagues at this hard time.”

Another added: “Lovely man, will be missed by the students and colleagues. Love goes to his family at this hard time.”

The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) said it was supporting Mr Gibbs’ loved ones while working with local authorities.