Schools’ head quits post

Christine Graham, executive headteacher James Calvert Spence College.
Christine Graham, executive headteacher James Calvert Spence College.

The executive headteacher of an Amble school federation has left her role, after more than four years in charge.

Christine Graham has made the ‘difficult decision’ to leave James Calvert Spence College (JCSC), having started in September 2010.

An interim executive headteacher, Jonathan Heath, has taken over with immediate effect, until the end of the academic year.

Meanwhile, consultation has begun over proposals for a hard federation between JCSC and Acklington C of E First School.

If the plan is approved, JCSC – comprising the middle school South Avenue site and the high school and sixth-form at Acklington Road – would work with the first school under a new, single governing body.

JCSC chairman of governors Scott Dickinson said the aim was to build on the strong foundations between the three schools and bring them closer together. He said it was an exciting time for JCSC.

Mr Dickinson said Mrs Graham made a valuable contribution to the success of both schools.

He added that JCSC is in a strong, emerging position, offering fantastic education and is delighted to welcome Mr Heath, who is a ‘well-respected senior education leader’.

In a statement, Mr Heath said: “I am absolutely delighted to have been given the opportunity to join the JCSC team on an interim basis during this period of transition.”

The proposal for a hard federation follows discussions between the governing bodies of JCSC and Acklington C of E First School, which also has a nursery.

The vision is to retain the three-tier structure across the three separate school sites, providing all-through education from early years to sixth form, under one executive headteacher.

The governing bodies say it would provide continuity, the chance to share leadership, resources and expertise and provide opportunities to improve teaching and learning across all the schools, as well as providing long-term sustainability. Mr Dickinson said there would be no job losses if the plans went ahead.

If approved, the two separate governing bodies would cease to exist and a new federated governing body of 17 current governors would be formed.

After the consultation period closes on July 10, the two governing bodies will make a final decision on whether to federate. The verdict will be announced by July 13 and, if approved, the federation will start from August 17.

More information, including a response form, is available from