Calm ‘is returning’ after senior staff change shock

Weston St Marys Scool -  Progress with phonics lesson, Kayliegh Blow, Marcus White, Rebecca Wallace, Samanta Bondarciuka, Megija Pavare with head. ANL-140705-111030001

Weston St Marys Scool - Progress with phonics lesson, Kayliegh Blow, Marcus White, Rebecca Wallace, Samanta Bondarciuka, Megija Pavare with head. ANL-140705-111030001

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“Every day that passes it’s better and the children can see the school is more settled and calm.”

Helen Okrafo-Smart, interim headteacher at Weston St Mary Church of England School, wants to reassure parents shocked to receive a letter on the last day of term stating the executive headteacher and base leader would not be returning after the Easter holidays.

One of the parents who contacted the Spalding Guardian said: “Last year, Ofsted inspected the school and found it inadequate.

“Weston school governing body then appointed a base leader and an executive headteacher.

“On the last day of last term the children where given a letter and told not to give it to their parents until they got home.

“The letter stated that both the base leader and the executive head were cutting all ties with the school from that day, leaving the school high and dry.

“These last two years the children have had numerous supply teachers, which has brought little or no structure.

“The level of behaviour of the children has now dropped so low even two after-school clubs have been suspended, mainly because the coaches were spending more time sorting out squabbles than time coaching.”

Mrs Okrafo-Smart, who works for Lincolnshire County Council, invited the Spalding Guardian to visit the school and see what progress was being made.

First brought in to help Weston St Mary Church of England School a year ago, before handing over responsibility to the new base leader and executive head in January, Mrs Okrafo-Smart showed us the work done by teachers in classrooms in their own time during the holidays to create a bright, stimulating learning environment.

She said: “It would be wrong to say the headteacher and base leader left the school high and dry – both were very dedicated but one already had links with two other schools and needed to focus on them and the other had family responsibilities to consider.

“It was really difficult for the children after the holidays to come back and find new staff. For the first couple of days the school was unsettled, but it is much calmer now.

“We had a meeting with parents last week and are looking at ways we can work in partnership with them and get them involved.”

There are 48 children at the school, which is part of the Federation of Surfleet Primary and Weston St Mary Church of England School but hopes to become part of the Lincolnshire Anglican Academy Trust with permanent staff when the new term starts in September.

Mrs Okrafo-Smart said: “Work to improve the school has never stopped and we are taking a structured response to historic issues. We have a new behaviour policy and are working with parents so everyone is clear what the expectations are.

“At the moment we are also double staffed, so children are given the help they need from teachers. We still have some after-school clubs running and we will look at reinstating the one that was postponed in the future.

“Our new Read,Write Inc programme which was introduced in January is already showing an improvement in pupils’ skills and we are confident of being ready for the school to become an academy in September.”

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