Heads rally after shock resignation of Long Sutton Peele School’s head

Simon Gilman and acting headteacher Elizabeth Smith
Simon Gilman and acting headteacher Elizabeth Smith

Headteachers have spoken in support of a former colleague in Long Sutton after his shock resignation because of the pressures of the job.

The news that Simon Gilman had stepped down after holding the position at Peele Community College for three years reached them on Thursday, after a press release was published by the Free Press.

I am not surprised to see heads resigning and I am also not surprised to see that becoming a headteacher is no where near as attractive as it was. The risks are too great

In spite of the governors at the the Peele being in welcome negotiations with Mr Gilman for his return to the school as a teacher of business in the new year, two headteachers have spoken on the increased pressures they are facing and say they have been saddened by the latest resignation.

Will Scott, who this term takes full leadership at Sir John Gleed School following the academy’s release from special measures, said: “I am always saddened to hear when good, committed, successful headteachers leave their positions due to the increasing pressure and stresses of the job.

“It unsettles whole school communities and can impact on students’ progress.”

Chris Mallaband, former executive headteacher at the Gleed, who is now principal at Bacon’s College in London, said: “I think that headteachers are under more pressure than ever before.

“I am not surprised to see heads resigning and I am also not surprised to see that becoming a headteacher is no where near as attractive as it was.

“The risks are too great.”

A statement regarding Siman Gilman’s resignation as headteacher of the Peele Community College was issued to the Free Press by the board of governors.

It said: “It is with regret the Board of Governors of the Peele Community College have reluctantly accepted Simon Gilman’s resignation as headteacher of Peele.

“The Board wishes to thank him for all the hard work and effort he has put into Peele during his time as an assistant head and headteacher over the past ten years.

“Governors would like to express their disappointment that an honourable man has felt the need to resign his position because of the pressures of being a headteacher in this modern day and age.

“Both Simon and the Board would like to clarify that this was Simon’s decision and his alone; but the Board fully understands and supports his reasons for doing so.

“On a positive, the Board report they are in negotiations for his return as teacher of business in the new year. We look forward to his possible return so that he can continue with his impeccable track record of results.

“In the interim deputy headteacher Elizabeth Smith will be leading Peele.”

The Free Press broke the news to Will Scott, headteacher at the Sir John Gleed School, during an interview about the way forward for the academy following its release from special measures.

Mr Scott said: “The daily pressures of all school work are ever increasing. Greater accountability of all staff has significantly increased and is right to ensure the highest standards are maintained and improved.

“As school leaders and, in particular, headteachers, the significant shift in the educational climate means that pressure is really on, on a daily basis.

“From having to deal with the smooth operational running of all school systems – improving teaching, student progress, having effective behaviour procedures – to ensuring your school is aware and compliant to the curriculum, assessment and other changes the government insists schools have in place.

“There is the intense pressure that visits from Ofsted and DfE bring that impact on the whole school and community.”

Chris Mallaband, Mr Scott’s former executive headteacher, agreed headteachers are facing pressure from all angles.

He said: “There are frequent changes to the Ofsted framework which, although taken in isolation may be sensible, they do encourage schools to lurch from one set of priorities to another.

“The move to “regional commissioners” at the DfE has been confusing.

“The fact that a school that is struggling may now have termly visits from Ofsted and from representatives of these commissioners is not helpful.

“And then there is the internally imposed pressure from governing bodies, local communities and media.

“Schools need support that is custom delivered to meet their quite different needs. In Lincolnshire the biggest need seemed to be recruitment of excellent staff.

“This isn’t the same challenge as that faced my schools in other areas – they will have different challenges. The government seems to have one solution – academies and free schools.

“I have been a head of three academies and therefore clearly have nothing against them.

“But they are just schools and the key things will always remain good leadership, good staff, positive culture and a great offer to the young people.”