Spalding St Norbert’s “old boy” returns to the school as head teacher

St Norbert's old boy Joe Burns with some of his new pupils. SG041016-102TW
St Norbert's old boy Joe Burns with some of his new pupils. SG041016-102TW
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A former Spalding primary school pupil is back at St Norbert’s as head teacher.

Joe Burns (57) takes over at St Norbert’s Roman Catholic Primary School from Louise Yarnell, who helped steer it to Ofsted outstanding last year – months after earning an outstanding verdict on the quality of its religious teaching from the Nottingham Roman Catholic Diocesan Education Service.

The governors would not have appointed me if they didn’t think we could sustain outstanding.

St Norbert’s head Joe Burns

Born in Scotland, Joe moved with his family to Holbeach in 1967.

“I then attended St Norbert’s in Spalding with my two brothers and sister,” said Joe. “I never thought I would end up back here.”

The father of two has met former classmates at local church services, but is thankful there are no telltale signs of his life as a lad at the school, no initials carved in desks, and delighted to find himself in an airy building with “a lovely new hall” and new classrooms following expansions in recent years to accommodate growing pupil numbers.

Joe has spent 35 years in the teaching profession, working in secondary education, and has 12 years experience of school leadership.

“This is my first primary headship and I am enjoying it,” said Joe. “I came to St Norbert’s as interim head teacher and decided to apply for the permanent role.”

Joe’s wife, Carolin, works in primary education and encouraged him to switch. He is an English specialist, used to teaching the subject at GCSE, but has worked with primary heads for years.

He is much more involved with St Norbert’s pupils on a day to day basis than he was with secondary pupils and is enjoying the enthusiasm of the younger pupils who “are all keen to come to school”.

He is convinced the school can remain outstanding and make further improvements.

“The governors would not have appointed me if they didn’t think we could sustain outstanding,” said Joe. “What we are looking to do now is keep moving the school forward into the next stage of its journey. That’s what I am really excited about.”

• What are your memories of St Norbert’s. Email spaldingeditor@jpress.co.uk, tweet @LincsFreePress or comment on the story at spaldingtoday.co.uk or facebook.comLFPandSG

Previously ...

Spalding school is “outstanding” at the double

School’s religious life is outstanding