IES Breckland Free School principal leaves

Sherry Zand, Head Teacher of the new IES Breckland free school in Brandon. Photograph Simon Parker

Sherry Zand, Head Teacher of the new IES Breckland free school in Brandon. Photograph Simon Parker - Credit: Archant

The principal of IES Breckland Free School has left the school.

Sherry Zand, who took over the school on its opening in September 2012, stood down from her position at the Brandon school over the weekend.

She will be replaced by interim principal, Peter John Fyles, a current employee of the school's education providers, IES.

Mr Fyles said Ms Zand had decided to step down at a meeting with the IES board and CEO, Barbara Bergström.

'We discussed the development of IES and as always the guiding policy was what is best for the students.

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'After a long discussion and attempts to decide what was best for IES Breckland, she took the decision to step down,' he said.

A statement from IES said: 'Ms Zand has chosen to move back to Surrey to be closer to her parents and to support her daughter Farrah in returning to her old school.'

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The search for a new permanent principal is already underway, according to Mr Fyles.

He said the school would be looking for an experienced principal to take the school forward.

He also took the opportunity to praise Ms Zand.

'She did a fine job at establishing the school and has a good reputation in the town and unfortunately it is only personal circumstances which have led to her departure,' he said.

Staff were informed of her decision this morning, with students told soon after.

Mr Fyles, who has been working for IES for 20 years, said there was 'a lot of positivity' at the school.

Principal defends changes as six staff released at Brandon free schoolMs Zand's departure comes just weeks after six members of staff were released on October 23.

Staff released included the head of maths and a member of the senior leadership team, who was also head of the English department.

Of the six, three were on temporary contracts and three were newly-hired teachers in probationary periods.

She insisted at the time that the decisions were taken 'in the best interests' of the school.

But the move came under fire at the time, with teachers stating that morale among staff had been affected.

Graham White, from the National Union of Teachers (NUT), said he hoped the situation would improve.

'I hope that the new principal can show compassion to staff and can work closely with them to improve morale at the school,' he said.

The school is currently hiring for seven vacancies, including the heads of English and communication, maths and modern foreign languages.

Ms Zand is to remain working with IES in an unspecified role.

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