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Head steps down after 'damning' report

By Katia Harston, Chief Reporter Thursday 5th December 2013
Gone: Headteacher Sharon Mapplebeck

Parents are standing by a Barnsley headteacher who dramatically stepped down just days after inspectors branded her school as a failure.


Sharon Mapplebeck's sudden departure after 11 years at The Edmunds Primary came as a 'complete shock', parents told the Chronicle.


Despite Ofsted saying the Worsbrough school has nose-dived from 'good' in 2011 to 'inadequate', and requires special measures - Ofsted's worst category of failing school - parents insist Ms Mapplebeck had 'done wonders' there and praised her for being 'very committed' and 'going above and beyond' her duties.


Her departure comes a month after a visit by Ofsted inpsectors whose report was sent to the school last week.


It was critical of the achievement of pupils and the quality of teaching as well as the school's leadership and management. The inspectors also said the behaviour and safety of pupils 'requires improvement'.


A summary of Ofsted's findings were sent out to parents last Tuesday, along with a letter from Ms Mapplebeck announcing she would be standing down as headteacher and leaving, which she did last Friday.


Her letter did not make it clear whether she had resigned or been sacked but a source told the Chronicle the decision had been mututal.


Ms Mapplebeck wrote: "It has been a huge pleasure and privilege to have been the headteacher of this school for the past 11 years.


"It has been a long and eventful journey, but one which has been well worth the challenge. Now it is time for someone else to take up the challenge and lead the school forward into the future."


The report says pupils' achievement is inadequate because too many are not making the progress they are capable of. Attainment in reading, writing and mathematics is also 'too low' in key stage one and two. Teaching was branded 'inadequate' with the report saying teachers do not have high enough expectation of what pupils can achieve.


"Since the last inspection pupils' progress and the quality of teaching have declined. School leaders have not done enough to reverse this decline."


It also blasted governors for not holding school leaders to account.


Worsbrough councillor Gill Carr is 'disappointed and heartbroken' at what she called 'a damning report'.


"Every child is supposed to matter but we have 228 children in this school that have not received a good, quality standard of education," she said.


"They've got a lot of ground to make up - it's going to be hard for a lot of children to catch up and some might be blighted because of it."


She said staff and teachers were largely at fault but said parents have placed too much faith in the quality of education their children have received and had not recognised it wasn't as good as it should have been.

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