A school has paid tribute to a former headteacher who passed away.

Plume Academy in Maldon have paid tribute to Alan Bibly who was the headteacher from 1980 to 1997.

Mr Bibly was at the forefront of major changes to the school during a time when Plume was one of the first schools in Essex to become Grant Maintained, independent of the Local Authority, and with full control and responsibility for its success both educationally and financially.

Carl Wakefield, headteacher at Plume Academy said: "This was a courageous step to move one of the then largest secondary schools in England from the established Local Authority structure and Mr Bilby lead the school through these huge changes with authority, clarity of thought and confidence.

"Mr Bilby was a leader who was capable of seeing potential and had the capacity to develop it wisely, appointing and training relatively inexperienced leaders who later went on to successfully lead other schools across the County.

"Mr Bilby acknowledged the potential of staff and supported their training to ensure that individual potential was realised and teams were strengthened.

"He was an early advocate of ‘Investors in People’ ensuring all members of The Plume School team were appropriately trained and qualified.

"Students and staff regarded him as a leader with vision and authority who steered the school through a challenging time in education and he never wavered in his belief that education and training were the tools to steer potential, improve lives and enhance the learning experience.

"Although it was hard to challenge him at times, Mr Bilby was a man who would always listen and was not afraid to admit that someone else may have a point - even if it was a day later.

"Those who worked the closest with him knew that he was not as scary as he often pretended, but was a committed, caring and extremely hard working man.

"The Plume Family has extended its sincerest condolences to Mr Bilby’s family and reinforced the fact that his significant period of service and many achievements will always be remembered with the due respect they deserve."