HEADTEACHER at Summerhill School in Kingswinford, James Bowkett, has announced he is leaving when the school breaks up for Easter.

In a letter sent out to students and parents yesterday (Monday April 8) Mr Bowkett, who has been executive headteacher at the school since November 2016, confirmed he has informed the chairman of governors that he will be moving on at the end of this term this week.

He said it had been "a difficult decision" to make but added: "I believe that it is the right one for the school and for myself for personal reasons."

Mr Bowkett, who came under fire in 2017 when the school had CCTV cameras installed in the pupils' toilets, said his departure follows a "very pleasing Ofsted inspection" - the results of which are expected in the coming weeks and he continued: "I said to many parents when I arrived that I would only move on when the school no longer needed me."

The school was given a 'requires improvement' rating after its last full inspection in November 2016 and after a monitoring visit in June 2018 inspector Jonathan Keay noted some improvements and changes had been made and safeguarding was deemed effective but inspectors identified other aspects of provision that leaders and governors were told they must further develop to improve the overall effectiveness of the school.

Although it is not yet known how the school has fared following its latest visit by Ofsted, Mr Bowkett said in his farewell letter to parents: "Very secure foundations are now in place with a new, strong, positive, fun and aspirational culture.

"There is a superb team of staff, from support staff through to teachers and subject leaders. The future for Summerhill is bright and it is time for me to move on to help another school."

He said the Governing Board would be agreeing interim arrangements for overseeing the school for the summer term while a replacement leader is sought and he said parents would be notified about the arrangements before the end of term - adding: "I am confident that Summerhill School will continue to build on its recent successes, with the results for year 11 this summer predicted to eclipse our last two year’s successive bests sets of results ever."

He said he would "look back with fondness" on achievements at the school and he told students to aim high and work hard.