Headteacher of Preshute primary school is to retire
'Outstanding', its headteacher, Celia Hicks, has announced her retirement. She will leave at the end of the summer term.Ten days after Preshute Church of England primary school in Manton was judged by Ofsted to be
Announcing Mrs Hick's decision, the chair of the school's governors, Zoe Garbutt, told parents: "Mrs Hicks has led our school from a 'Satisfactory' school to 'Good' and then recently to 'Outstanding'. Her commitment to the children, staff and wider community has been exceptional - she leaves the school with a highly capable team of teachers and teaching assistants."
The school's journey from 'Satisfactory' to 'Outstanding' has taken almost exactly six years.
In the letter to parents Mrs Hicks explains her decision: “After six exhilarating years it is time for someone younger with more energy to lead the school on its next journey. It has earned its wings, now it needs someone to help it fly. What an exciting opportunity!”
She thanks the staff and parents for all their support over the years and most importantly the children who are 'a delight to work with'. Mrs Hicks will continue to work part-time as a School Improvement Advisor, something she has been involved in over the last two years, helping other schools to do their best.
Speaking after the Ofsted 'Outstanding' judgment was announced, Celia Hicks told Marlborough News Online: "We are very proud." She smiled: "But strangely there is a connection between outstanding teaching and outstanding learning - it's outstanding teachers. The Ofsted success was very much down to 'Team Preshute' - everybody played a part."
Preshute Primary takes its pupils from a fairly wide area around Manton - at present only eleven of its pupils live in the village.
It is not part of the Excalibur Academies Trust chain, which includes Burbage, Easton Royal, Oare and Ogbourne primary schools and is bringing in a new admissions policy. "It is", she says, "a concern" that preference is given to Excalibur primary pupils for places at St John's.
"It's a worry that some people are using the Excalibur primaries to improve their children's chances of getting into St John's." Though she does point out that several of the Excalibur primaries are small schools.
Preshute School has old and restricting buildings. "We have had to compromise in some areas of our provision." For example, PE classes have to go by coach to a hired hall at the Marlborough Leisure Centre - that costs the time of two teachers and the hire of the hall and coach. The school's outdoor space is very limited, its corridors are narrow - and Mrs Hicks' office is tiny.
The search for a site for new school buildings has been going on for some years: "I originally thought I'd hang on as headteacher till I'm in my new office in a new school, but...well, it's a long process."
Talks about building a new school as part of a projected housing development north of the A4 are "still progressing".
When Marlborough News Online visited the school pupils were involved in the Cosmic Classroom project involving British astronaut Tim Peake's lessons beamed from the International Space Station. You can watch his February 2 lesson here - and it's well worth a look.
One classroom we saw was full of space related models, books and pictures. And the school has made the most of being close to the Swindon headquarters of the UK Space Agency - welcoming its scientists on visits to the school.
The Governors have already started the process to recruit a new headteacher, in conjunction with the Diocese and the Local Authority. The Governors are committed to finding a dynamic leader who shares their "...ambition for all Preshute children to have high aspirations and a thirst for learning."
In Celia Hicks' words: "If we can whet their appetite for learning - then it's job done."