Bury St Edmunds: St Louis headteacher steps down from diocese

THE headteacher of a popular middle school facing closure has stepped down from her role within the Catholic diocese.

Anne Mansfield, head at St Louis Middle School in Bury St Edmunds, has been working with the East Anglian Diocesan Schools Service to support the transition to a two-tier system in Suffolk.

But Mrs Mansfield has now resigned from her position at the diocese following a decision to close St Louis in 2013.

Mrs Mansfield said she had quit her role to allow her to speak out about the proposals as headteacher of St Louis.

“I hadn’t got the freedom to express my views,” she said. “I wanted to support my school and staff which was becoming a conflict with the two roles.

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“I am still committed to moving through the transition but I am, first and foremost, the head of this school.”

Mrs Mansfield has spoken only to reassure parents of staff’s commitment to the school since news broke in November of the plans to close St Louis in 2013, four years ahead of the rest of Bury schools as part of Suffolk County Council’s Schools Organisation Review (SOR).

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Under the scheme, St Benedict’s Catholic School in Bury will become an 11-18 school and the town’s St Edmunds school will become a primary for children aged four to 11 years old.

But yesterday, after her resignation from the diocese was announced, Mrs Mansfield spoke out about the move.

“It is absolutely inevitable we will move to the two-tier system,” she said.

“Our concerns at St Louis is about the timing in Bury.

“There is another way forward which takes in all the concerns of the whole pyramid as well as Bury.”

Mrs Mansfield invited parents to attend a meeting about the proposed changes at St Louis at 7pm on January 25, where she will read her views.

In the newsletter to parents, Mrs Mansfield also formally announced her plans to retire as head of St Louis at the end of the school year.

Having been deputy head at the school since 1992 and headteacher for the past six years, Mrs Mansfield said it would be a wrench to leave.

“I shall be very sad to go,” she said. “I shall miss St Louis.

“There is a certain spirit to the school.

“There’s a real family feeling to it.

“It is a real wrench to leave but the time has come.”

Mrs Mansfield stressed her decision to retire was totally unconnected to the SOR, which had made her stay longer than she otherwise would.

Although her successor has not yet been formally named, Mrs Mansfield said the new headteacher had her total support.

“The spirit of St Louis will continue,” she said.

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