New acting head of Sheffield school calls for calm after predecessor's shock resignation

Interim headteacher Roisin Paul of Silverdale School
Interim headteacher Roisin Paul of Silverdale School
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A troubled Sheffield secondary school reeling from the shock resignation of its headteacher is set for a ‘new era’, according to the management team who have taken over.

Parents and pupils of Westfield School were shocked yesterday after receiving letters telling them headteacher Andy Ireland has left his post.

The move was described as ‘ill judged’ by some as he left just days before the results of an Ofsted inspection were due to be published.

But interim headteacher Roisin Paul, who also heads up Silverdale School in Bents Green, called for calm among pupils, staff and parents as she set out her plans to improve the school.

Ms Paul said: “We are anticipating a bright future for the school. This is only my first day in the job but we can already see many positives which we will build

upon, and there are areas which we will improve.

“We want parents, pupils and our feeder primary schools to help shape our future.”

The school was judged by Ofsted to ‘require improvement’ in 2014 and inspectors raised concerns over pupil attainment, quality of teaching and high truancy levels. The results of the latest inspection are expected on Friday.

Ms Paul, aged 46, of Sheffield, said: “We are in the early stages but we will look at additional teaching for staff to ensure our pupils get the highest standards.”

Parents have also raised concerns that the school fails to communicate effectively with the community.

But the interim headteacher said: “We will be launching a Twitter and Facebook account which, alongside our website, will be bringing regular updates.

“I am also happy to arrange a public meeting within the next couple of weeks.”

She added: “We are only in the early stages but within the next two or three months we should have more specific plans for the future of the school.”

Ms Paul added that the school is currently in consultation over converting to an academy with a view to joining the Silverdale Multi-Academy Trust and this should be completed by September 1.

“I know we are facing a period of change but I am confident that, by working in partnership with Silverdale, we will be able to build on the good work we have already achieved, and ensure that Westfield provides the best education possible for our children.”

Letter to parents

A letter to parents explained that Mr Ireland has already left his post to ‘follow other career plans’.

The letter, signed by the chairman of the school’s board of governors, Claire Sellars, read: “Mr Ireland has left Westfield School to follow other career plans. He has asked me to forward his best wishes for the future to all involved with the school.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank Mr Ireland on behalf of the school community and also wish him well for the future.”

The letter added: “There will be some further adjustments of roles and responsibilities within the team to ensure the smooth day to day running of the school.

“I know that Mrs Paul will be in touch with parents and carers once she has started, to share her vision for our school.

“Given her experience in leading Silverdale as an outstanding school, I look forward to the excellent ideas and commitment she will bring.”