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Acland Burghley headteacher resigns to be replaced by Parliament Hill head after Ofsted criticism

Jo Armitage has resigned as headteacher of Acland Burghley. Picture: Polly Hancock. Jo Armitage has resigned as headteacher of Acland Burghley. Picture: Polly Hancock.

Friday, March 21, 2014
5:00 PM

The headteacher of Acland Burghley School has stepped down with immediate effect and been replaced with an interim head from another Camden secondary following criticism of the school from Ofsted inspectors.

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From left to right: Cllr Angela Mason, Dr John Clarke, Pete Dudley and Martin Pratt discuss the future of Acland Burghley School. Picture: Polly Hancock.From left to right: Cllr Angela Mason, Dr John Clarke, Pete Dudley and Martin Pratt discuss the future of Acland Burghley School. Picture: Polly Hancock.

Camden Council announced at a press conference this morning that Jo Armitage would leave Acland Burghley, in Burghley Road, Tufnell Park, at the end of the school day.

She will be replaced by Parliament Hill School headteacher Sue Higgins who will now take on the role of executive headteacher of both schools until the end of the academic year.

Interviews for a new permanent replacement will begin next week ahead of the appointment of a new Acland Burghley headteacher in September.

In January, Ms Armitage announced she would be stepping down from her role at the school at the end of the year due to an Ofsted report published in October which downgraded the school from “good” to “requires improvement”, one above the lowest rating.

Parliament Hill headteacher Sue HigginsParliament Hill headteacher Sue Higgins

The latest announcement follows a monitoring visit from Ofsted inspectors in February who urged the school to take immediate action to control behaviour and for “casual” teachers to have more pride in their “personal presentation”.

Pete Dudley, Camden Council’s assistant director for raising achievement and aspiration, was joined by Acland Burghley chair of governors Dr John Clark, cabinet member for children Cllr Angela Mason, and Martin Pratt, the council’s director for children, schools and families, to announce the news at the Crowndale Centre, in Mornington Crescent, this morning.

Mr Dudley said: “Jo has stepped aside and is very honourable in doing this. Jo has worked tirelessly for the school, she’s been professional throughout. We want her to have a good career after this.

“She has made this decision in the interests of the school. I wish to state very clearly that Jo’s interests are in the future of Acland Burghley.

“She’s done a huge amount. She’s always put the school first and she’s continued to put the school first.”

Acting headteacher Ms Higgins will be assisted in her new role by Acland Burghley teacher Anna Peduzzi and Parliament Hill teacher Sarah Creasy, who will work as associate headteachers at both schools.

Staff at both schools were informed of the changes today and parents will receive letters of notification on Saturday.

Dr Clark said: “The job that Sue Higgins has got is to assess the situation and using her vast experience to decide what needs to be done and in what order.”

Cllr Mason said: “I believe Acland Burghley is fundamentally a good school. It has some immediate challenges as highlighted by the Ofsted report and we are very anxious that they are dealt with in a timely manner.

“It’s good that we have got the resources in our Camden family of schools with remarkable headteachers like Sue Higgins that are kind enough to help us out.”

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