New headteacher appointed at Sheffield primary school

A Sheffield primary school is set to bring in 2021 with a new headteacher at its helm.

Thursday, 31st December 2020, 7:00 am

Lauren Johnstone will take on the role at Valley Park Primary School in January and says she is looking forward to taking on the new challenge.

During her career, Mrs Johnstone has worked in various schools across South Yorkshire – both in areas with high levels of deprivation and those that are more affluent.

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Lauren Johnstone has been appointed as headteacher at Valley Park Community Primary and will take on the role in January

She leaves a deputy headteacher post at St John The Baptist Primary School, in Penistone, to join Valley Park and hopes her wealth of experience will be of great benefit to both the school and the surrounding community in Norton.

Mrs Johnstone said: “I worked in Kendray in Barnsley for around nine or 10 years and that was very similar to Valley Park – high levels of deprivation, a real community feel and a struggling community really in terms of future aspirations, levels of pupil premium and things like that.

"I absolutely loved it, it was the best working 10 years of my life working in Barnsley. Working with those kind of communities, the ones where you can make a real difference and the ones that need the most help, both socially and emotionally.”

Valley Park was given a ‘requires improvement’ rating by Ofsted following its latest inspection on March 15 and 16, 2018.

Lauren Johnstone will become headteacher of Valley Park Community Primary in January

Although it was found that pupil progress was ‘too slow’ in a range of subjects and year groups, the early years provision was deemed ‘good’.

But the school’s leadership team, including governors and trustees, were said to be a strength of the school – showing an ‘admirable passion’ for serving their comunity and a determination to give pupils the ‘best life chances possible’.

Mrs Johnstone, who is from Sheffield, hopes to build on some great work that is already underway at the school.

“Valley Park needs to be a community school,” Mrs Johnstone added. “They need to open up the doors and be there for the families not just the children. That’s one of the main reasons I’m going there, to help the community and reach out to the families.”

Lauren Johnstone hopes to bring a community aspect to Valley Park Community Primary School

Mrs Johnstone has also appointed a play and Filial therapist who, beginning in the new year, will teach parents how to play with children to support their learning and wellbeing.

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