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Headteacher quits troubled Cumbrian school

The headteacher of a troubled school has quit with immediate effect.

Chris McGrath photo
Chris McGrath

Chris McGrath broke the news to staff and pupils at Stainburn School and Science College in Workington yesterday before leaving the same day.

It comes after plans to close the school, which was plunged into special measures last month, were announced.

In a statement Mr McGrath said he had decided to leave “in the light of recent events and the many challenges currently facing us all”.

He said the decision came “after much thought and consideration”. Mr McGrath did not say anything about his future plans, only that he would “move on to other things”.

“As such, today will be my last day in school as the head of Stainburn,” he said.

“I would like to thank staff and governors for their hard work, energy and commitment to the young people of Workington and I genuinely wish you the very best for the future.”

The sudden announcement came after Cumbria County Council launched a six-week consultation last week into proposals to close Stainburn School and Science College and Southfield Technology College and replace them with a new town academy.

The authority previously said a decision on whether Mr McGrath and his Southfield counterpart Lynda Dalkin would be taken on as head of the new academy would be down to the new sponsors.

Both schools had earlier been placed in special measures following damning Ofsted reports.

The schools were already working towards a merger, because of falling pupil numbers, but the decision has now been taken out of their hands.

Following the announcement Stainburn governors said they were disappointed with the Ofsted inspection as it had been judged to have been making good progress twice last year following previous visits.

They added that they remained fully committed to continuing to improve the school and make sure pupils achieve the best possible education.

Chris McGrath joined Stainburn School in January 2007 after previously working in Manchester.

Nobody from Stainburn was available for comment.

Have your say

Sad news.I was lucky enough to be a pupil at this school in the 60's when it was the Grammar School & it was a marvellous school - strict old fashioned,almost military discipline & a traditional no nonsense education based on traditional British values which probably would be condemned as "politically incorrect" by the liberal left idiots these days.Exam results were high,& we had pupils from my class go on to Oxford.But,that was in the days before Grammar schools were abolished in favour of comprehensives,before political correctness destroyed pride in British history & values,before OFSTED,& before left wing political agendas in education.Tony Renney,Workington.

Posted by Tony Renney on 18 February 2014 at 16:51

I worked with Chris McGrath some years ago when he was Head of another Cumbrian school in the south of the county .... I think it was his first Headship. He was a decent, honest, caring and supportive Head .... the problem was he was too decent and a bit naive. He had a tough time dealing with the hornets nest that was the Governing Body, the Local Authority were their usual useless selves and some staff/parents didn't help. He was a nice guy, but all too easily made the whipping boy and he was forced out. Really sad.

Posted by E Cleasby on 16 February 2014 at 23:49

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