Recently announced promotions for three of Wellesley Park Primary School’s senior staff are “a fantastic opportunity and to everyone’s advantage” according to Sian Evans who will become the school’s Head on 1st May. Wellesley Park’s current Head, Lindsay Gabriel who was appointed in 2013, will become Executive Principal of three schools – Wellesley Park and two Bridgwater schools, Willowdown Primary Academy and Woolavington Village Primary School – which are part of the Collaborative Academies Trust (CAT).
At the same time, Wellesley Park’s Deputy Head, Oliver Priestley, will become Head of School at Willowdown where he has been acting in a supportive role over the last few months since the sudden death of the school’s Head. Assistant Head Anita Curtis will join him in the same role at Willowdown. These promotions are all secondments until August 2017 in the first instance.
Lindsay Gabriel will continue to be based at Wellesley Park. She said that the moves are “kudos for our Senior Leadership Team at Wellesley Park. We have a lot of very experienced staff at Wellesley Park who now have opportunities to become leaders as well. We can see many good things coming out [of the promotions]. The staff will remain in situ in the Academy, and working together collectively will be very powerful.” She added, “The Academy has helped us in terms of professional development and its strength has been recognised.” Wellesley Park was graded as ‘Good’ in every category in its Ofsted inspection in November 2015.
Parents are said to be positive about the moves. Sian Evans said, “We held a Parents’ Meeting to explain. There were no expressions of anxiety; more compliments and congratulations. At a time when the government’s White Paper is leading to more schools becoming academies, this is being organised in the way academies will often be run.” The government is committed to the expansion of academies as a way of driving up standards in schools.
Changes to the staffing at Wellesley Park include the promotions of two existing members of staff, Tessa Clarke and Mark Carter, to Assistant Headships. Sian Evans will continue to work as a classroom teacher but role-share with Sian Anderson, an arrangement which is already in place.
As a result of the appointments the school will now have 14 classes in September, avoiding the need for mixed year groups which Sian said parents were “not fond of”. She added, “None of us would have agreed to all of this if we did not feel Wellesley Park would continue to grow and improve. Our hearts are here at the school and this is a fantastic opportunity. We haven’t really lost staff because we’re all members of the academy. We can work more closely which is beneficial to all of us. Co-operation is to everyone’s advantage. We feel confident that Wellesley Park can allow for these changes and still keep moving onwards.”