Principal of 'failing' Northampton school resigns in letter citing 'family needs'

Principal Rachel Steele will step down in August.
Principal Rachel Steele will step down in August.

The headteacher of a Northampton school that was ranked ‘inadequate’ in all areas by Ofsted last year will step down in August.

Rachel Steele, principal of Weston Favell Academy, has written to parents to tell them it is ‘no longer realistic for me to continue’ and will retire before the new school year starts in September.

Weston Favell Academy was rated 'inadequate' by Ofsted in November 2016.

Weston Favell Academy was rated 'inadequate' by Ofsted in November 2016.

Weston Favell Academy was knocked down from ‘requires improvement’ to ‘inadequate’ following an inspection in November 2016.

In a letter to parents, Mrs Steele writes: “Much has changed since 2012 and the academy is now a different place.

“I have been both proud and privileged to hold this role and devoted myself and my time wholeheartedly to Weston Favell and its students at the expense of others.

“I must now focus on the needs of my family above those of the academy.

“I have therefore taken the decision to retire as principal with effect from 31st August.”

“Weston Favell will always hold a special place in my heart. I wish the academy, its students and staff much success in the future.”

The academy will seek to appoint a new principal from September 2017, the letter confirms.

The most recent Ofsted inspection said the school’s governance by the Greenwood Dale Foundation Trust was ‘weak’ and that this ‘significantly hampered the school’s improvement’.

It also questioned how the school’s leaders spent pupil premiums. A Chronicle & Echo investigation in January found that premiums had been used to recruit a leadership assistant just to manage how premiums were spent.

This was despite strong criticism from Ofsted for ineffectively using year 7 literacy and numeracy catch-up funding.

Weston Favell claimed they would challenge the ‘inadequate’ Ofsted rating.