Principal insists academy staff departures are nothing to fear

Gee Cook, principal of the Iceni Academy

Gee Cook, principal of the Iceni Academy - Credit: Archant

A principal has insisted that fears over staff morale are unfounded after news of a number of teachers departing was revealed.

Gee Cook, who became principal at Iceni Academy in Methwold in September, said the imminent departure of three staff - with another going on secondment - was no reflection on the atmosphere at the school.

And despite another two teachers being due to go on maternity leave in the near future, according to sources at the school, no vacancies are currently being advertised.

Those concerns were worsened by parents and students visiting West Norfolk MP Elizabeth Truss on Friday to raise their fears over the academy's direction.

Ms Cook said the school was facing up to a period of change after she took over from long-serving principal, Denise Walker.

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'In organisations of all sizes, it is natural for staff to move onto new challenges at various stages of their career and we fully support that. However, we are proud of the fact that staff turnover at Iceni Academy is lower than the national average.

'The teaching staff at our academy work extremely hard, and we are proactive in identifying and creating opportunities for them to continue their professional development within a supportive and structured family of Academy Transformation Trust academies.

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'Since I began my role as Principal at Iceni Academy, I have been working on developing the standards of the school and on ensuring we provide the best possible opportunities for our pupils.

'While there are inevitably challenges to improving the academic performance of a school, a recent review showed we are moving forward in achieving our goals and that we are placing an even greater emphasis on teaching and learning,' she said.

Further issues have also been raised about budgetary issues at the school.

Ms Cook said the academy was working proactively to resolve 'legacy issues' from previous leadership to ensure the school's budget is giving it value for money.

'Being part of a wider family of academies managed centrally by The Trust means we not only financially secure but we have the support in place to ensure we can overcome any challenges,' she said.

What do you think of the academy's new direction? Are you concerned about staff turnover?

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