Head to retire after turning school around

Sean Hayes EMN-181109-171047009
Sean Hayes EMN-181109-171047009
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A headteacher who turned around a failing school is looking forward to more free time as he prepares to retire.

Sean Hayes was appointed at St John Fisher Catholic High School in Park Lane, Eastfield, in 2008 after the school had been placed in special measures, the entire board of governors had been sacked and the previous head had resigned.

But rapid improvements saw the secondary school turn its fortunes around and it is now rated ‘Good’, with results last year showing pupil progress at GCSE level was above the national average.

Sean is retiring when he turns 60 in April to allow his successor the summer term to bed in. He said: “I’m pleased the school is in really good shape and is now over-subscribed. But probably after 10 years it needs a fresh face.”

Recalling his appointment 10 years ago, initially as an interim, he said: “We focused on teaching and made sure we made good appointments and changed the school day to have four lessons.

“The Sixth Form has now grown and is doing very well. “We also now have an Army Cadet Force.”

Sean was previously a deputy headteacher in Ipswich, and before that a maths teacher in Chelmsford and Colchester, where he commutes from every Monday. He believes schools have been experiencing funding pressures over the last few years which have led to cutbacks. He said: “The Government will say its putting more money into education. The problem is we have less to spend, which is the bit that does not make sense.”

In retirement Sean hopes to stay involved in education in some form, but he is also looking forward to having more freedom to go away when he wants. “I’ve always wanted to go to Wimbledon,” he added.