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Exciting time for school says new head

PUBLISHED: 10:24 06 February 2009 | UPDATED: 12:58 03 July 2010

Melinda Derry, new head at Stalham High School

Melinda Derry, new head at Stalham High School

Ed Foss

CURRICULUM develop-ment, improved infor-mation technology pro-vision and winning a designation as an eco-school are all on the hit list for the new headteacher at one of Norfolk's smallest secondary schools.

CURRICULUM develop-ment, improved infor-mation technology pro-vision and winning a designation as an eco-school are all on the hit list for the new headteacher at one of Norfolk's smallest secondary schools.

Melinda Derry is Stalham High School's first woman head and has taken on the role from one of the longest-serving heads in the county - John Chilvers, who clocked up 16 years at the helm.

Allied with the designation of specialist status in humanities granted last year, it is an exciting time for the school, said Ms Derry.

A familiar face on the Norfolk education scene, having worked at Earlham, Aylsham, St Clement's and Oriel high schools, as an adviser to the local education authority and across the Cambridgeshire border at Thomas Clarkson Community College in Wisbech, Ms Derry started at Stalham at the start of the current term.

“Stalham has a recent history of its examination results improving and the job now is to make sure all the children make the progress they should,” said Ms Derry.

“I want to see a new and exciting curriculum with vocational opportunities, a process of change which has already started and which will mean there is a wider range of subjects on offer. That would allow the post-16s more options when they move on.

“We also need to bring more IT into the school, I want to move towards being an eco-school - something the youngsters are very keen on - and develop the profile of the humanities

status.”

One of the school's strengths was its small size, added Ms Derry, with 424 pupils currently attending, meaning it had very strong family values and staff members knew all of the children so were able to make sure they were well cared for.

“We have a good track record to build on, but there are lots of new opportunities we can open up for the children.”

There are already plans for a literacy and literature festival in July, involving the feeder schools and the community, added Ms Derry.

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