KES head Mike Douglass retires as hundreds get set to travel to King’s Lynn for reunion

Mike Douglass, who is retiring after 18 years at KES. Picture: Ian Burt Mike Douglass, who is retiring after 18 years at KES. Picture: Ian Burt

Thursday, May 15, 2014
6:49 AM

The head teacher of the King Edward VII School (KES) has announced he is leaving this August, a month before it becomes an academy.

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Former pupils set for reunion

Former King Edward VII School (KES) pupils will be travelling from as far as Australia and Canada to a school reunion which is being held next month.

The event, which will be held in the main hall of KES, has been arranged by Don Oliver and Andrew Stephen who are from the Old Lennensians Association.

Mr Stephen, a former KES pupil from 1964 to 1971 said: “Anybody who went to KES or the West Norfolk High School can come. Around 200 people and their partners are coming from as far as Australia, Canada, Korea, Germany and France.

“It has got round by word of mouth really, emails and newsletters from the Old Lennensians Association.”

After leaving KES, which back then was an all-boys state grammar school until 1979, Mr Stephen trained as a teacher and moved to Nottinghamshire.

He then joined the Old Lennensians (OLs) Association, which is made up of former grammar school pupils, in June last year.

Mr Stephen said: “I feel very lucky to belong to the OLs and I hope that the High School will soon have an association of their own. It would be great to work together and hold more events involving partners and perhaps move away slightly from a purely traditional way of doing things. For many people nostalgia guarantees that things wont change.”

To attend the reunion then email Don Oliver at don-oliver@tiscali.co.uk before Saturday May 17.

The event starts at 10.30am and finishes at 3.30pm on June 7.

Mike Douglass, 55, who has been at the school on Gayton Road, King’s Lynn for 18 years, will be retiring as well as deputy head, Andy Osbourne steps down.

The move comes as a recent Ofsted monitoring inspection found that the school, which was put in special measures last autumn, has made “reasonable progress.”

Mr Douglass said: “I think the time for me leaving is an opportune move as the school becomes an academy, it is a new change for the school - so it is an ideal time.

“I have been a head teacher for 12 years and in been at the school for 18 years, so I feel that this is the right time. Although I will be retiring from headship, after I have taken some time out, I would still like to contribute to education in some way.”

A school reunion will take place in the main hall of KES on June 7.A school reunion will take place in the main hall of KES on June 7.

The comprehensive was put in special measures because

inspectors highlighted poor grades in English and mathematics and said teaching was often not good enough and described as inadequate.

However the recent inspection has found that the current year 11 pupils are “making better progress overall than at the time of the last inspection” - although the rate has been described “as not fast enough.”

A gender gap has also been identified where inspectors have noted “boys are making far less progress than girls, particularly in English.”

But the report also states that teaching is “now effective” and students are safe and bullying is tackled “quickly and successfully - which has been derived from the school’s ‘zero tolerance’ policy.

Mr Douglass said he was pleased that the school is making “reasonable practice.”

He said: “We’re in a much more stronger place now, we have made changes and we are now making sure we embed them as far as we can go. My colleagues have worked so hard to make these changes, but we are relishing the journey.”

Mr Douglass also added that parents have been very supportive - “I have had a lot of nice emails,” he said.

As Mr Douglass leaves at the end of the academic year, King’s Lynn Academy principal, Craig Morrison has been appointed as head teacher for KES, which will become the King Edward VII Academy, as it joins the College West Anglia (CWA) Academy Trust on September 1.

Mr Morrison said of his new post: “I am delighted and excited at this fantastic new challenge. KES has a long and proud tradition in King’s Lynn and I am looking forward to working with the staff, students and parents to ensure student achievement and satisfaction levels improve rapidly.”

The chief executive of the CWA Academy Trust, David Pomfret. explained that Mr Morrison’s role would be to focus on improving both academies to achieve an Ofsted ‘good’ grade as soon as possible.

He said: “Craig Morrison has senior management experience across two schools from a previous role in Cambridgeshire. The aim of the CWA Academy Trust is to raise student achievement in all our academies.”

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