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New head leading staff and pupils safely through Covid pandemic

PUBLISHED: 15:20 29 September 2020

Lizzie Girling is the new headteacher at SET Saxmundham School.  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Lizzie Girling is the new headteacher at SET Saxmundham School. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Sarah Lucy Brown

A Saxmundham headteacher who was appointed at the peak of the coronavirus crisis has said her main challenge is to ‘make sure Covid doesn’t run the school’.

Mrs Girling was appointed in the role in April - at the peak of the coronavirus crisis Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNMrs Girling was appointed in the role in April - at the peak of the coronavirus crisis Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Lizzie Girling was selected as the new head of school for SET Saxmundham School in April, just weeks after the majority of students were sent home due to the lockdown.

She formally started in the role at the start of the new academic year in September, with one of her first duties being to ensure the transition from home to school life went as smoothly as possible for students.

And the first few weeks have been a success - with the majority of students, teachers and staff adapting to the new guidelines.

Mrs Girling said: “I see teachers really challenging students and it’s been wonderful - it makes me so proud that my staff are adapting.

“I sat at the beginning of September thinking how this was going to work. But it’s been amazing.”

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Mrs Girling previously worked as a headteacher for 15 years at Maidstone Infant School and Causton Junior School, both in Felixstowe and part of the Seckford Education Trust (SET).

She decided to take up a new challenge in Saxmundham earlier this year with older students, aiming to “transfer” many of the skills she learned from her time working in primary schools.

Mrs Girling said: “The main challenge is keeping the balance and making sure Covid doesn’t run the school. We’ve still got to make sure the curriculum is superb and engaging.”

Aside from ensuring the school is Covid-secure, one of Mrs Girling’s first tasks in charge is implementing SET’s ‘Ready, Respect, Safe’ scheme designed to tackle bullying and meet the needs of every student.

The school has also set up a ‘Scholars Club’ to connect their students with PhD academics so they can learn more about university life.

Though the threat of coronavirus remains, Mrs Girling is committed to not letting the virus determine the future of the school - and is confident in leading both teachers and students through the crisis.

She said: “Our challenge is to make sure Covid doesn’t get in the way. We’re still sticking to our vision and adapting so we make it right for the students.”


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