Tributes after sudden death of ‘extraordinary’ school leader

Brooklands Short Stay School in Gorleston. Pic: Google Street View.

Brooklands Short Stay School in Gorleston. Pic: Google Street View. - Credit: Google Street View

Tributes have been paid to the 'extraordinary' leader of a Norfolk school, after her sudden death over the weekend.

Jenny Bird was the leader of The Brooklands Short Stay School in Gorleston - a school which provides education for pupils who have been excluded from school.

Bosses at the Unity Education Trust, which runs the Magdalen Way school, and other short stay schools and mainstream schools in Norfolk, closed the school on Monday after Miss Bird's death.

Glyn Hambling, chief executive of Unity Education Trust, paid tribute to Miss Bird, describing her as an "extraordinary person".

He said: "We are incredibly sad at the death of Miss Jenny Bird, leader of Brooklands School.

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"She was an extraordinary person who was always child centred, an outstanding teacher and her loss will be felt deeply across the school, trust and the wider community.

"Our deepest sympathies are with her family and friends.

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"Everyone is shocked by the loss of our dear friend and valued colleague and we took the decision to close on Monday, so that staff could have time to reflect on the sad news and we could carefully consider how to support our children on their return."

Mr Hambling said extra staff would be brought in to help the children at the school at this difficult time.

"We will have specialist staff in school this week to give support to our children and help explain this sad news.

"We have also written to parents, so that they can help support their children at this difficult time."

Miss Bird had returned to The Brooklands Short Stay School in December last year, having previously been leader there for three and a half years from September 2015 until March last year.

In between those stints at Gorleston, she ran the Douglas Bader School, another short stay school, at Badersfield, near Coltishall.

She had previously spent six years in various roles at the Douglas Bader School, from September 2009 until August 2015.

Before that, she was a special educational needs teacher at The Hall School in Norwich for just over a year in 2008/2009, working with children who had a wide variety of complex and severe learning difficulties, including children on the autistic spectrum.

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