New head teachers sought in Thornbury and Alveston, South Gloucestershire after sudden resignation

Gazette Series: Melanie Warnes has been appointed chief executive of Castle School Education Trust Melanie Warnes has been appointed chief executive of Castle School Education Trust

A FLOURISHING Thornbury secondary school will lose its popular head teacher in a radical shake-up of two of the largest schools in the region, the Gazette can reveal.

Melanie Warnes will cease being head teacher of the Castle School at the end of the current academic term.

A new head teacher will be appointed in the coming weeks for a September 1 start.

Marlwood School is also recruiting a new head teacher where Mrs Warnes is currently interim head.

In an open letter to parents Mrs Warnes said the decision to leave her role as head teacher of Castle School arose partly because of “the current situation and decisions that have had to be made regarding Marlwood School’s future”.

Mrs Warnes assumed the role of head teacher at Marlwood within weeks of the most recent Ofsted inspection of the 960-student school in December. The watchdog said it “requires improvement” – a drop from its previous “good” ranking.

Mrs Warnes announced on Tuesday morning, March 4 that she had accepted a new post as chief executive of Castle School Education Trust (CSET). CSET was established when Castle School granted academy status in March 2013 and currently oversees the Castle and Charfield Schools, both of which are flourishing and have decided to sponsor Marlwood School.

She said this meant that CSET will take over the running of the school and as chief executive of CSET she will undertake executive head teacher duties at Marlwood while leading the appointment of a new head teacher also for September 2014.

Mrs Warnes appointment means she will step down as direct head teacher of The Castle School which caters for over 1,750 pupils.

Mrs Warnes said: “I am incredibly proud of what we have achieved but I also see this as an opportunity for a new head teacher to join us with new skills. Castle is a very special place and as chief executive I will be ensuring that our unique ethos continues as I lead the appointment and guide the work of the new head teacher.

“Castle needs a dedicated head teacher who can live and breathe Castle on a daily basis.

“My involvement with Castle School will be to line manage the new head teacher, help set the strategic direction of the school and carefully monitor standards and intervene to secure improvement where necessary.”

Mrs Warnes said it was important that both schools maintained good relations in the future and worked collaboratively in an increasingly competitive local and wider context.

“We envisage that over time both schools will benefit from these changes,” she said.

Mrs Warnes assured parents that both schools would continue to run as normal without disruption to the children without while the changes take place.

Director of CSET and Castle School governor Clive Parkinson said Mrs Warnes’ resignation as Castle School head teacher was a consequence of her appointment as chief executive CSET chief executive on March 1.

“Melanie couldn’t do both roles. She wouldn’t be able to operate as Castle school head teacher and chief executive of CSET because they are both demanding roles and she will be responsible solely for the strategic development of both schools.

“It’s a positive move to support secondary education of students in Thornbury, Alveston and the surrounding area.”

The parent of a Year 10 pupil at the Castle Sochool told the Gazette the news was disappointing.

The mother, who did not wish to be named, said: “I am very sorry to hear that Mrs Warnes is leaving her role as head teacher of the Castle School. The children have all flourished under her leadership but if her experience can raise the standards of education in the area that can only be a good thing.

“My other daughter will be starting at Castle School in September and I hope that the standard of education there will be as high as it has always been and that she will thrive there too.”

The recruitment process is now underway at both schools. Adverts for headteachers have been posted this week.

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