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Decade at the helm comes to an end for headteacher

Headteacher Chris Gallagher celebrating Benhall Primary's 'good' Ofsted report with children in 2013

Headteacher Chris Gallagher celebrating Benhall Primary's 'good' Ofsted report with children in 2013

Archant

A Suffolk school will bid farewell to its headteacher of 10 years when the summer holidays begin tomorrow.

Benhall St Mary Primary, near Saxmundham, describes itself as a school with a smile on its face – and its outgoing headteacher has led by example for the last decade.

As term comes to an end this week, Chris Gallagher is preparing to clear his desk with a sense of sadness but enthusiasm for a new venture.

The 51-year-old moved to Suffolk from his deputy headteacher position at a school in Essex – becoming acting head and then headteacher at the Church of England voluntary controlled primary.

During that time, the school was subject to reorganisation from a three-tier to a two-tier system by the local authority, and began enrolling Year Six pupils in September 2012.

Since arriving, he has led the school to three ‘good’ inspection ratings from Ofsted – the latest in 2013, when the behaviour and safety of pupils was also rated ‘outstanding’.

When he broke news that he was leaving the school, Mr Gallagher was as emotional as his colleagues.

“The staff were open-mouthed,” he said. “I got a bit choked up and the deputy head had to speak for me.”

Mr Gallagher hopes to continue in education by setting up his own consultancy firm specialising in primary mathematics

“I love this school, and I’ll miss the children and the staff – but I thought, if I don’t do it now, I probably never will.

“I wanted to set up an education consultancy because I don’t think there is enough support for maths, with schools instead tending to rely on each other. The stakes have been upped and the whole maths curriculum has been pushed back, making it more difficult for children, particularly in year six.”

Chair of governors, Carolyn Glennon, said: “During the 10 years of Chris’ headship the school has flourished, and we are grateful for the energy and commitment that he has given to ensure the children always come first.

“We wish him all the best when he leaves us and promise to build on his legacy to provide the best education we can in a happy, caring, fun, environment that is Benhall St Mary’s.”

Deputy headteacher, Katie Jenkins has been appointed as acting head for one term.

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