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Friday, 01 August 2014

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£500,000 to help Cumbria's ailing secondary schools

Cash-strapped council chiefs are to plough £500,000 into efforts to improve the county’s ailing secondary schools as it is revealed that two new headteachers are on their way to Workington.

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Talking: Anne Burns

Cumbria County Council is to inject the cash after being criticised by school standards watchdog Ofsted and secondary headteachers.

The cash will fund more school-to-school support schemes, possibly including costs incurred by better schools when staff are called upon to help others struggling elsewhere.

Stewart Young, leader of Cumbria County Council, said: “We will be announcing a significant amount of funding to support the Cumbria Alliance of System Leaders (CASL) at the budget meeting on Thursday. There will be some demands on that pot of money.”

It is understood the funding will be in the region of £500,000. Full details will be discussed when councillors meet in Kendal to finalise the authority’s 2014/15 budget.

Meanwhile, in Workington, Sandy Todd and David Dawes take up their interim roles immediately.

Sandy Todd, deputy headteacher at Caldew School, Dalston, becomes head of school at Southfield Technology College.

Mrs Todd was a key member of the team which led the turnaround of Morton School, Carlisle, prior to its closure in July 2008 and rebirth as an academy.

She said: “It is important that the students continue to have very positive experiences and feel supported in achieving their ambitions and potential.

“My motto has always been, for myself, the students and staff that I work with to be the very best we can be. It is my job to focus on this and I will be dedicated and committed to achieving this.”

At Stainburn School, Mr Dawes brings with him experience of merging schools and creating a new academy from his native north east.

Yesterday’s statement says he also has “considerable capability and a proven track record”.

Executive headteacher Lorrayne Hughes, who is also in charge at William Howard School in Brampton, said: “In the first instance the vital step is to restore calm and set the course for a brighter future. The appointments will help us to achieve this.

“Both have extensive experience in successful leadership and I’m delighted that we have been able to secure the services of such high calibre and respected professionals to these roles without delay.”

Last week Mrs Hughes met with the staff and more than 150 students at both schools. Yesterday’s statement says she was given “a warm welcome”.

She added: “I fully appreciate that this has been a very difficult time for the staff and students of both schools and the wider community. Such periods of uncertainty can be very disruptive; however we must look forward with confidence and a new sense of purpose.”

Schools break up on Friday for the half-term holiday. After the break, parents will be given the chance to visit the schools and talk to the new leaders.

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