Peele head quits to move abroad

Head teacher Elizabeth Smith to leave Peele at the end of the academic year. SG240216-102TW
Head teacher Elizabeth Smith to leave Peele at the end of the academic year. SG240216-102TW
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Peele Community College in Long Sutton is looking for its fifth head teacher in eight years with the surprise resignation of Elizabeth Smith.

Miss Smith, head for the last two years, leaves at the end of this academic year.

She will move to Switzerland to join her partner and aims to continue her career in secondary education.

Miss Smith’s time at the school has been dogged by controversy, with some parents objecting to a tougher stance on enforcing rules on school uniform.

In spring last year, more than 50 pupils were detained in “isolation” by the school for wearing non-regulation items, including shoes, but Miss Smith explained then that the school was raising standards by enforcing existing rules and was about to issue more than 500 pupils with free, smart new blazers and ties.

Miss Smith’s headship has also seen the school taking the first steps out of the Ofsted doldrums of “requires improvement” and moving towards being a “good” school.

And last year’s GCSE results showed the school was back on the right track, with highlights such as the 75.49 per cent A*-C pass rate in English and 70.29 per cent A*-C pass rate in maths.

Miss Smith made her resignation public in a letter to parents this week, telling them: “I have thoroughly enjoyed every one of my five years at The Peele and if it wasn’t for my partner’s permanent relocation to Switzerland I would have remained doing the job that I love.

“I would have relished taking the school into it’s next exciting phase. I have every confidence in our governing body making an outstanding appointment for my successor as they know exactly what will ensure The Peele remains a warm, friendly and very ‘special’ place for students to thrive, flourish and excel.”

She also pays tribute to governors, staff, parents and the “wonderful children” who engage her every day with their “amazing contributions, good humour and achievements”.

Speaking to the Spalding Guardian, Miss Smith insisted her focus will be fully on The Peele until she leaves.

She said: “I just want to leave the school in a very healthy position so my successor can build on the work I have done so far to keep the momentum going.”

The head accepted there had been “quite a lot of negativity” towards her because of the changes made at the school but says that came from a “very small minority” of parents while the majority had been very supportive.

In its most recent visit to The Peele, Ofsted commented in a monitoring report published in July: “Senior leaders and governors are taking effective action to tackle the areas requiring improvement identified at the recent section 5 inspection in order to become a good school.”

The education inspectorate then listed four key actions for the school to follow.

Commenting as county councillor for the area, Chris Brewis said: “All I can say is the school wants to make sure that whoever is in charge is someone of real calibre and ability and a really forward thinking person to continue the improvements that have happened in recent years. I just want to see it (The Peele) succeed because it is such a key part of our community.”

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