Sprites Primary School headteacher joins Bury St Edmunds primary school
A west Suffolk primary school returned from Christmas to a double celebration – retaining its ‘good’ Ofsted rating and welcoming their new headteacher from Ipswich.
St Edmundsbury Church of England Voluntary Aided Primary School was praised by the education watchdog for adapting successfully to the two-tier education system, introduced in September 2016 despite opposition against Suffolk County Council’s School Organisation Review.
Four middle schools closed in Bury St Edmunds as a result of the transition, which the authority said would improve education standards.
Thirty-two Year 6 pupils joined the school in September 2016 and half attained the expected SATs standards in reading, writing, and maths last summer.
Ofsted Inspector Fiona Webb said: “Staff have received appropriate training and support from experienced colleagues to ensure that they have a good understanding of the curriculum and what to expect of pupils in this key stage.”
In her letter to former interim headteacher Ian Kearn, following the inspection last November, she added: “Pupils are polite, confident and very cheerful. They feel well looked after in an environment that you have made inclusive and welcoming.”
New headteacher, Shaun Valentine, 47, who has worked in education for 25 years, with the last 11 spent as head of Sprites Primary Academy in Ipswich, said: “I want this school to be a great school providing outstanding provision. I feel very welcomed. Staff and children are extremely positive and happy.
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“The new SATs curriculum (September 2014) are more challenging with higher expectation for children. They came with big hype but little training for teachers who were expected to implement them straightaway. There was frustration and anxiety but we have all adapted.
“I will miss my time at Sprites but have fond memories working with children from a range of different backgrounds.
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“Education in Ipswich is improving. The data shows we are closing the gap to national levels.”
Deputy head Lyndsey Allsopp said: “We were pleased with our SATs for our first year.”
Tania Devereux, former head of Boxted Primary School in Colchester, has replaced Mr Valentine at Sprites Primary.
A spokesman for REAch2, which runs the academy, said: “Mr Valentine moved on to his new post at the end of the autumn term after many years of service to Sprites. We thank him for his dedication to the academy and wish him all the best in his new role.
“Following a rigorous selection process, we appointed Mrs Tania Devereux as our new head and she took up post on January 1. Mrs Devereux is an extremely experienced senior leader, having had a number of posts in schools in Suffolk and Essex, most recently as Head of Boxted Primary School in Colchester.”