New headteacher for Bradwell school

NEW ROLE: A headteacher who spent time helping spread education within a Latino community in America has taken over the reins at a Bradwell school.

Sheila Mercer, right, started at Woodlands Primary School after the Easter break and replaces Mandy Stanton, who retired after 13 years. Mrs Mercer has taught for more than two decades and been a headteacher twice before. From September she will be leading the school into its first year covering an age range of three to 12-year-olds.

“My focus has been in looking at every pupil’s strengths and building programmes to help them reach their full potential,” she said.

The 52-year-old explained that she would look to encourage increased interaction within the community, including having an “open door policy” that allowed parents further engagement in their children’s education.

There would also be an “exploratory approach” to the curriculum, and increased efforts to get education outdoors.

“We want them out there learning within our school’s fabulous grounds, and we will be looking at sustainability,” said Mrs Mercer. “They will be living longer than us, and we want to educate them for a prolonged future.”

After completing a Glasgow University linked course in 1979, the mother-of two taught until 1992, when she went to the east side of Florida with her church to help build education within the Latino community.

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It was a decade after this two-year “steep learning curve” that she took the first of two headteacher roles in Dorset before deciding to move to Norfolk, partly because of family ties.

Of her predecessor, Mrs Mercer said: “She has done an immense amount of work in the last few years, and I’m thrilled I’ve been given the opportunity to build on her marvellous efforts.”