Maureen Crofton the headteacher at Wellesley Park Primary, the town’s largest under-11 school, is leaving next week. Her abrupt departure comes shortly before the publication of an Ofsted report on the school’s performance. Next year Wellesley Park plans to become an Academy.
Mrs Crofton has been at the school as teacher, assistant head and finally head for 24 years. Whilst one media report talked of her retirement, the official statement from Somerset County Council said only that the school bids her a “fond farewell”.
Cllr Frances Nicholson, Somerset County Council’s Cabinet Member for Children and Families, said: “I would like to thank Mrs Crofton for the many years she has given the school. She has been totally committed to wanting what is best for all the children who have passed through the school and she will be missed.”
Wellesley Park has long been regarded as the most desirable state junior school in Wellington but there have been recent signs that its reputation has outstripped its performance. In the past month Around Wellington has spoken with three separate parents with strong misgivings about teaching at the school.
On the Schoolsnet website there are four reviews of the school, three of them highly critical. The 2009 Ofsted report on Wellesley Park was lukewarm at best, with the majority of assessments no better than Satisfactory.
In Mrs Crofton’s absence the county has drafted in Miss Lindsay Gabriel from Stawley School as a trouble-shooting acting head for the remainder of the academic year.
“Miss Gabriel is an experienced head teacher who, as well as being head teacher at Stawley, has worked as an acting head in other primary schools at the request of the Local authority. She is a nationally accredited Local Leader of Education and a trained Ofsted inspector,” said a county hall spokesman.