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Inspirational heads to retire

PUBLISHED: 20:09 21 January 2010 | UPDATED: 16:23 30 June 2010

TWO inspirational headteachers who turned failing schools in Great Yarmouth and Gorleston around are to retire in the summer.

Nancy Heywood, of North Denes School, and Paul George, of St Mary's Catholic Primary School, are leaving in July after successfully steering their schools out of special measures.

TWO inspirational headteachers who turned failing schools in Great Yarmouth and Gorleston around are to retire in the summer.

Nancy Heywood, of North Denes School, and Paul George, of St Mary's Catholic Primary School, are leaving in July after successfully steering their schools out of special measures.

In November 2006, North Denes, then a middle school, was put on special measures and given help to turn its pupils' below average performance around.

It was removed from the special measures list in July 2008 and praised by Ofsted after Mrs Heywood decided to make her pupils feel proud about their school.

Mrs Heywood, 61, who has been at North Denes for 13 years, set up a community garden, encouraged youngsters to go green by monitoring power use, and organised more after-school and lunch clubs. More attention was also paid to pupils' maths, English and science lessons.

She said: “One of the biggest challenges in the school was behaviour. There was a problem with vandalism and fighting because there was a sense that pupils did not feel they were involved at North Denes. But by encouraging pupils to get involved in the school they now love coming here and they are very proud of their school.”

When asked if she would miss the paperwork associated with being a modern headteacher, she said: “I will miss the children - they are what has kept me sane over the years.”

In December 2008, St Mary's in Gorleston was removed from special measures a year-and-a- half after Ofsted labelled it as inadequate. Mr George was appointed head in April 2008, after its previous head Peter Cleary resigned after inspectors said that the school had failed to make enough progress since being placed on special measures in May 2007.

As the new headteacher, Mr George focused on improving the quality of his teachers and the work of pupils. He also improved assessments and feedback.

Mr George, 59, who will also be retiring as head of St Augustine's Catholic Primary School in Norwich, said: “It was mainly about bringing staff together to work as a team to overcome the issues we faced. I have been very lucky with the quality of people I am working with.”

Both headteachers said they would enjoy spending as much time as

possible with their families and travelling - and Mr George said

he would also enjoy more time playing golf.


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