Primary school headteacher and deputy resign

A Crawley headteacher and her deputy have resigned after their school was told it needed to improve.

Tuesday, 12th January 2016, 4:40 pm
Updated Friday, 8th June 2018, 6:35 am

Elizabeth Dickenson and her deputy left St Andrew’s School, Furnace Green, at Christmas, weeks after Ofsted found the school hadn’t taken “effective action” to tackle issues raised following its last inspection.

Now West Sussex County Council is working with the school to help it make the necessary improvements under the leadership of new headteacher Sharon Anderson.

Teaching, leadership and the achievement of the pupils were all judged to require improvement following the inspection in June, with early years provision and the behaviour and safety of the children rated ‘good’.

A letter from inspector Alan Taylor-Bennett was published on Monday (January 11), following a monitoring visit in November, in which he wrote: “I have serious concerns about the sufficiency of the actions being taken to make the necessary improvements.”

Mr Taylor-Bennett said staff morale was low and turnover was very high, noting two other teachers had also left the school at the end of term.

He added: “It is unclear how the school will organise teaching in January. Governors are well aware that the resignations of the headteacher and the deputy headteacher mean that they will have to work urgently and closely with the local authority and diocese to secure the leadership and management of the school from January 2016.”

A spokesman for West Sussex County Council confirmed work was under way between it and the Chichester Diocese to provide support for the Ms Anderson and the governing body.

He added: “Officers and additional governors are working with the school to make sure that robust plans are in place to ensure that pupils achieve the best they can.”

St Andrew’s poor Ofsted rating was not its only bad news for 2015.

Despite predictions to the contrary, the average achievement of pupils by the end of Key Stage 1 in writing was lower than in 2014, and a lot lower in both maths and reading. The average standards reached by pupils in all three subjects was below national averages for the first time in many years.

Mr Taylor-Bennett said: “Pupils achieved good standards in writing by the end of Key Stage 2. However, pupils’ progress in reading by the end of Year 6, although better than previously, was still below average.

“Outcomes in reading were only broadly in line with national averages as a result. The progress made by pupils in mathematics was poor; as a consequence, pupils’ achievements in mathematics by the end of Year 6 were very disappointing.”

Alan Wigley, chair of governors, said: “I am confident that steps are being taken to make the improvements needed and I can confirm that the school is now moving forward positively under the new headteacher.”

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