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Heads keeping it in the family

PUBLISHED: 21:57 15 June 2006 | UPDATED: 11:01 22 October 2010

When Margaret Sneddon decided she wanted to slow down from her hectic life as a headteacher, she saw a job share as the ideal solution.

When Margaret Sneddon decided she wanted to slow down from her hectic life as a headteacher, she saw a job share as the ideal solution.

But after advertising nationally, only one candidate was found to be right for the job at Poplars Primary at Lowestoft - her husband.

And come September, Mrs Sneddon and her other half Ian will find out if two heads really are better than one.

The pair, who have worked together at the school in St Margaret's Road for around 14 years, are the first headteachers in Suffolk to take on a job share and are possibly the only husband and wife team in the country to do so.

Mrs Sneddon is no stranger to breaking records.

At 25 she became the youngest teacher in Suffolk to become a headteacher at the school, where she has been teaching for 22 years.

“I love headship and working at this school,” she said. “It's a very special school and we have a superb team with a lovely group of children and supportive parents.

“I had to start thinking about decisions regarding my future. I didn't want to leave as I find it very fulfilling, so I approached the governors to discuss the possibility of working part time as part of a job share.”

An advert was placed in the Times Educational Supplement, but only one candidate applied - Mr Sneddon.

And keen to give a fair and rigorous interview, Mr Sneddon was put through a six-hour interview process, where even the children's council at the school had a chance to fire questions at their prospective headteacher.

“I had a group of about 30, five to nine-year-olds in front of me with governors and Local Education Authority (LEA) officers around the edge,” he said.

“And Margaret and I had to have a head to head regarding headship for about 20 minutes.”

Mr Sneddon, who is currently assistant head at the school, worked in research at Edinburgh University, before he decided on a career change.

He took an honours and masters degree at UEA, and joined his wife at Poplars.

For the last three years he has also been working with the advisory service.

The job share will begin in September and both will do three days each, with a Wednesday being the overlap day.

Mrs Sneddon is planning to spend more time with her 90-year-old mother and doing her garden at the couple's home in Corton.

Of the job share, she said: “Two heads will be better than one.”


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