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Headteacher change as Stowmarket High School prepares for major shake-up

18:20 17 November 2014

Headteacher Keith Penn

Headteacher Keith Penn

A headteacher of a Suffolk high school which is set for major changes next year has resigned.

Keith Penn is to leave Stowmarket High School next April after eight years in the role.

Next year will see the final changes in the move from three-to-two tier education resulting in all middle schools in the area closing.

Two extra year groups, Years Seven and Eight, will be taught at the school from September 2015.

Mr Penn said in his resignation letter to parents and students: “It is with mixed feelings that I write to tell you that I have decided to resign my post as headteacher of Stowmarket High School and to take semi-retirement with effect from Easter 2015.

“There is no dramatic reason for this – no illness in myself or a close family member, for example. We have discussed this decision as a family for some time and have decided that this is the right moment to make more time for other things we wish to do.”

Last year the school was given a “requires improvement” Ofsted mark – the same score it received in 2009 and 2011 when that grade was classed as “satisfactory”.

Mr Penn criticised the 2013 report, claiming it made “sweeping and inaccurate” generalisations. In February a follow-up Ofsted inspection said improvements were being made at the school.

Mr Penn added in the letter: “I shall miss colleagues and students enormously – this has been a very happy time for me – but it is time for my wife and I to devote more time to our other interests. It comes at a good time for the school just as our GCSE and A-level results have shown significant and consistent year-on-year gains, giving a new headteacher a good springboard from which to launch the new 11-18 school in 2015.”

The chairman of the school’s governors, Caroline Tuohy, said: ‘We’re delighted by how the school has developed under Keith’s leadership and our very best wishes go with him as he retires and enters this new phase in his life.

“We shall be advertising the vacant post very soon with a view to appointing a new headteacher early in 2015 to build on that work and to take the school forward into its own exciting future as we take on younger students in Year Seven and Year Eight for the first time.”

1 comment

  • When I was at the old Stowmarket grammar school when Dr. Montgomery was head, there were 1112 year olds, right up to the 18 years olds in upper sixth. The system seemed to work well then, I don't see why it couldn't again. Having said that, both my children did really well under the "middle school" system as well. I wish governments would make a decision, stick to it, and make it work. I don't blame Mr. Penn for taking early retirement, the buracracy faced by head teachers today must be horrendous. Enjoy your retirement!

    Report this comment

    Carole Richards

    Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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