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Headteacher to say a 'good' goodbye

Cold Ash St Mark's head standing down following strong Ofsted report

John Herring

John Herring

john.herring@newburynews.co.uk

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Headteacher to say a 'good' goodbye

COLD Ash St Mark’s School is marking both good news and a goodbye following a glowing Ofsted report and the impending departure of its headteacher. 

Sue Ball will be leaving the school at the end of the term next month after 11 years at the helm.

Mrs Ball, who has also been headteacher at Aldermaston, Brightwalton and Winchcombe schools in her 28 years in education, said the time had come for her to retire.

She said: “I would like to personally thank the staff, governors and parents for making my time here so memorable.

“I feel very fortunate that I have built a lovely team of staff and parents here who are really supportive.”

Mrs Ball will be handing over to deputy head Mitch Warrender, who has been at the school for 18 years. 

“He knows the school well, the children, parents and community,” Mrs Ball said. “I’m leaving the school in very good hands.

“It’s just time for me to go.

“The school’s in a good place and now is a good time to hand over.”

Indeed, the school was judged as being good by Ofsted following an inspection in October.

Ofsted said that a good quality of education had been maintained since the school was last inspected in 2014.

The report said that Mrs Ball, Mr Warrender and other senior leaders and governors, had “led the school to become the happy, purposeful place that it is today”.

It adds: “You are ambitious for pupils to achieve well and to make good progress academically, but you also place a strong emphasis on developing pupils’ characters and their sense of responsibility.”

Teachers were said to have planned memorable learning experiences and had high expectations of pupils, who in turn worked hard, striving to do their best.

The report added that parents were overwhelmingly positive about the school, with many saying that staff enabled pupils not only to achieve well academically, but also socially and emotionally.

Ofsted said that the next steps for the school were to improve the teaching of phonics by the end of year one and for pupils to achieve higher standards by the end of Key Stage 2. 

Mrs Ball said: “I’m absolutely delighted with the outcome of the Ofsted report and really pleased that it actually identified the same things that we identified that will need future work on.

“It’s nice knowing we didn’t have any surprises in the report.  

“Also, I’m really pleased to see the inspector picked up on the excellent behaviour of the children and their enthusiasm for being at school.”

She said that learning was not just about academics and that the school tried to provide children hands-on experience relevant to the curriculum.

“Without the support of the parents we couldn’t do that,” Mrs Ball added. “We do rely on them and their voluntary contributions.”

Chairman of governors Rod King said the school had witnessed postive and lasting changes under Mrs Ball’s watch.

“She has led in creating a warm, welcoming, safe and stimulating place in which children learn, make good progress and grow in confidence,” he said.

“She will leave the school with a strong foundation to become the centre of educational excellence to which we aspire and in which all our children can thrive as young people.

“For her service to the school, staff, families and the community and for many other reasons, the governors would like to say a big thank you.”

Mr King praised his team of governors and the Cold Ash St Mark’s School Association, which has funded 21 new computers for the school after raising £30,000 in one year.

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