Published: 08:00, 14 February 2018
A leading head teacher in charge of schools around Medway and known for his no nonsense approach to discipline has died.
Gary Vyse was chief executive of the Williamson Trust, which runs six schools in the Medway area.
These are the Rochester Math School, the Hundred of Hoo, Elaine Primary Academy in Strood, Allhallows Primary, High Halstow Primary and St James's Primary in Grain.
Mr Vyse, who was in his mid 30s, was considered to be one of the most influential educational leaders in the Medway area.
He caught the public eye in 2016 when he banned false eyelashes, fake tan, heavy foundation and lipstick in the Hundred of Hoo school, where he was head teacher.
Tributes have already begun to pour in for Mr Vyse, who died on Monday.
"We are all shocked and saddened by the loss of such a strong and influential leader" - Mick Costello
One former pupil posted on Twitter: "If true, and I hope not, but R.I.P Gary Vyse - you only wanted the best out of us students at the Hundred of Hoo, I remember you calling me a star student once upon a time and I'm going to continue my hard work. Damn, rest easy, sir. :("
Chairman of the Williamson Trust Mick Costello said: “Mr Vyse passed away at home on Monday, February 12.
“We are all shocked and saddened by the loss of such a strong and influential leader.
"Gary was an extraordinary individual with a passion for education, and a real drive to do the best for the trust, its staff and its students. Gary had been part of the trust since its inception in April 2011, and he was always dedicated to achieving the best possible outcomes for the children of the Trust.
“The Williamson Trust’s board of directors and senior leadership team will help guide our schools as we come to terms with the loss of Gary.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends.”
In 2014, the Mr Vyse became the local leader of education and part of the Ofsted Headteachers Group for the South East and London.
Cllr Andrew Mackness, Medway Council’s portfolio holder for children’s services said: “As well as being someone I valued as a professional friend and colleague, Gary had been a leading light in driving real improvement in education in Medway and in shaping the way we educate our young people.
“His track record, drive and energy in championing education was outstanding and he will leave a lasting legacy for which we are very grateful.
“Our thoughts at this very sad time are with his family and all the students and staff of The Williamson Trust family who we know will miss him greatly.”
Teachers at the school have been informed of the Medway-raised teacher's passing.
Dominic Herrington, regional schools commissioner for south east and south London added his own tribute, saying: "We always had the utmost respect for Gary’s dedication to improving the life chances of children at The Williamson Trust.
"Our thoughts are with his family and those who knew him.”
Stuart Gardner, CEO of Thinking Schools Academy Trust, which runs seven schools around Medway, said: "Gary was a superb education leader and his contribution to raising the aspirations and achievements of young people cannot be overstated.
"He had a drive that led to school improvement and always had the best interests of his students at heart.
“He was also a friend and a former colleague of myself and so many of the staff across Thinking Schools Academy Trust.
"I speak on behalf of us all when I say he will be hugely missed, and we offer our heartfelt condolences to his family.”