Middle school agrees to new leaders model

St Mary's Middle School in Belford.
St Mary's Middle School in Belford.

A new management model will be introduced at St Mary’s Middle School in Belford from September.

A shared leadership model has been agreed with Berwick Middle School which will see its headteacher Derryth Hope and deputy Nick Shaw take on the same roles at Belford.

Governors at St Mary’s, with support from the church diocese and Northumberland County Council, approached Berwick Middle for help due to problems recruiting a new headteacher.

St Mary’s has had Jo Warner in post as temporary head for the last six months, but she is leaving for another job at the end of this term.

The shared leadership model aims to ensure the long-term sustainability of the school.

In a letter to parents, Andrea Thomas, chairman of governors, said: “I would like to take this opportunity to thank so many of you who have offered support and encouragement throughout the last few months. We are now proceeding with this management model. The new management team will be in place for the start of the September term 2016 and we look forward to an exciting new chapter in our school’s history.”

Additional posts have been proposed within Berwick Middle School to provide cover and extra training and support has been commissioned from a highly-respected external source to support staff in their new roles.

Clare Shaw, chairman of governors at Berwick Middle, said: “We received a small amount of high quality feedback and questions from parents and all of this was used to form part of the discussion and helped us to re-formulate a plan for how we could go on to work together with St Mary’s to the schools’ mutual benefit and the benefit of children in both catchments.”