New Bury school announces appointment of joint headteachers

Catharine Wensley (left) and Jo Pettingale will lead Sir Peter Hall School in Airfield Road

Catharine Wensley (left) and Jo Pettingale will lead Sir Peter Hall School in Airfield Road - Credit: Gooderham PR

A new school in Bury St Edmunds has announced the two headteachers who will take the helm when it opens later this year. 

Catharine Wensley and Jo Pettingale will jointly lead the Sir Peter Hall School, on the town's Moreton Hall estate, from September. 

The Airfield Road school will have an initial intake of 40 pupils, building to 80 students over the next three years, for children aged nine to 16. 

In a joint statement, Ms Wensley and Ms Pettingale said: “We are delighted to be appointed the new headteachers of this much-needed bespoke special school for students with social emotional and mental health needs.

“Opening a new school is a huge honour and it is wonderful to see the Sir Peter Hall School coming to fruition. We look forward to welcoming children and their parents as they prepare to start here from September.”

Ms Wensley has 30 years experience in education and has held various curriculum and senior management roles in schools, including that of headteacher.

She joins Sir Peter Hall School from St Edward’s Academy in Romford, where she was deputy headteacher.

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While Ms Pettingale joins from Stone Lodge Academy, a special school in Ipswich, where she is currently head of school.

The new headteachers recently held a recruitment evening as they look to appoint teachers for the new school. 

They added: “We are very pleased to be already working closely with our neighbouring primary and secondary schools.

“As symbolised by our logo of the caring hands and the book, we will provide academic subjects in line with the national curriculum and a bespoke, nurturing environment to prepare our learners to lead fulfilling lives.

“We look forward to working with the community and making our contribution to the local area.”

The school, which will be opened by the Unity Schools Partnership, has been built by Suffolk County Council as part of their investment into increasing specialist education places across the county.

Tim Coulson, chief executive of Unity Schools Partnership. Picture: UNITY SCHOOLS PARTNERSHIP

Tim Coulson, chief executive of Unity Schools Partnership. Picture: UNITY SCHOOLS PARTNERSHIP - Credit: Archant

Tim Coulson, chief executive of the trust, said, “Catharine Wensley and Jo Pettingale bring many years of successful experience working as teachers and leaders in both mainstream primary, secondary and special schools and have already attracted much enthusiasm and interest as they appoint staff to the school.”

The appointment comes after the original headteacher, Fyfe Johnston, moved to support special school education across the Unity Schools Partnership.