Stalham High School headteacher resigns

Melinda Derry pictured in 2009 when she took over as headteacher at Stalham High School
. Melinda Derry pictured in 2009 when she took over as headteacher at Stalham High School .

Sunday, January 26, 2014
9:35 PM

The head of Stalham High School has resigned after being off ill for several weeks.

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Gerard Batty, who has taken over as executive headteacher at Stalham High School.Gerard Batty, who has taken over as executive headteacher at Stalham High School.

The news of Melinda Derry’s departure comes as the school waits for the imminent publication of its latest Ofsted report which followed an unexpected inspection.

Her place has been taken, for the spring and summer terms, by executive headteacher Gerard Batty, who is currently head of Hellesdon High School, Norwich.

A spokesman for government inspectors Ofsted said they had visited Stalham High on November 26.

According to Norfolk County Council Ms Derry went off sick on November 26.

Stalham High School.Stalham High School.

In a message to parents on the school website, Mr Batty says: “I am not breaking any confidences to share with you that the inspection did not go as well as the school would have hoped.”

Last April the school was celebrating when Ofsted bumped it up a grade from its previous “satisfactory” ranking to “good”.

But Tony Ross-Benham, who recently took over as chairman of governors at the 468-pupil Stalham High, said that the school had been over-ranked, based on the figures and data available.

“They shouldn’t have given us that mark. Our exam results in the summer were down as well,” said Mr Ross-Benham.

The school’s A*-C GCSE pass rate, including English and maths, dropped from its best-ever result of 59pc in 2012, to 46pc last year.

The publication of the Ofsted report is overdue. Its delay is because of new guidance for inspectors being introduced nationally.

The Ofsted spokesman said a number of reports were being reviewed to make sure they complied with the new guidance and she was unable to say when it would be published.

Mr Ross-Benham said the delay was unsettling for staff, governors and parents. “It’s confusing, and it’s not good for staff morale either,” he said.

“We all want to know what the report says so that we know what the next course of action will be.”

Ms Derry joined the school as head in January 2009. In a statement Norfolk County Council said: “Ms Derry has been a committed professional, dedicated to improving the life chances of the students in her care, and we wish her well for the future.”

Mr Batty will divide his time equally between Stalham and the 1,258 pupil Hellesdon High.

■ Has your school got an Ofsted story, good or bad? Contact newsdesk@archant.co.uk

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