Governors win battle to appoint head of choice

steve varnam, halfway infants head
steve varnam, halfway infants head
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GOVERNORS at a Sheffield infant school have won their battle to appoint the headteacher of their choice - after a dispute erupted with the city council.

Steve Varnam, who was previously acting head, officially starts his duties at Halfway Infants today.

The school had been without a head since last summer, when the previous principal retired after more than 20 years.

Governors advertised the job but only two candidates came forward – which led to an intervention by city education chiefs who said the response was insufficient.

They told the governing body to look at other options – including sharing a head with nearby Halfway Juniors, a solution the governors resisted.

A meeting was attended by over 100 parents, who backed the governors in their determination to make their own appointment.

Chair Gina Berry said she was delighted they’d appointed Mr Varnam.

“The appointment is right for the school,” she said.

“But after further discussions it was agreed that we should re-advertise the post and we feel we have now been successful in appointing the right person.”

Mrs Berry said she did not necessarily agree the outcome was a victory for parents and the independence of governors.

“It was simply the right thing to do - to go down any other path would have been detrimental to the school.

“Mr Varnam was subjected to a very thorough and rigorous interview and questioned by officers from the council.

Mr Varnam said it had been ‘a truly odd’ few months but added: “I am absolutely thrilled to be properly in the post at last. I am determined to to work for the children and this community, and to help the youngsters to succeed and achieve.”