No-nonsense head set to leave

Collegiate headteacher Cherry Ridgway is leaving this summer.
Collegiate headteacher Cherry Ridgway is leaving this summer.
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THE search is on to find a new headteacher for a Blackpool high school.

Cherry Ridgway, current head of Collegiate has announced she will leave this summer after two years at the helm.

Her departure, to a school in Blackburn, means the local authority is now searching for the fifth new headteacher at the Blackpool Old Road school in 10 years.

Mrs Ridgway joined the school in September 2010 and faced a number major challenges.

Ofsted inspectors had given Collegiate a notice to improve and there were budget and behaviour problems.

In addition, the number of pupils on the roll had dipped significantly and staff morale was said to be at its lowest ebb.

But under her leadership many aspects of the school have been transformed.

Exam results have improved and Ofsted reports show good progress in standards of teaching and behaviour.

Mrs Ridgway said: “It’s been an honour and a privilege to lead Collegiate over the last two years.

“Staff and students have worked hard together to ensure a high level of success and the school has gone from strength to strength.

“I really will miss Collegiate and its staff and students very much.

“I’ve enjoyed working with all of them but the school is now in a fantastic position to build on recent improvements and continue to move forward.”

Mrs Ridgway took a zero tolerance approach to disruptive behaviour made major changes to the way children were disciplined at the school.

Fixed term exclusions were scrapped in favour of an internal unit, which means pupils behaving badly spent five hours in school learning in isolation, instead of being out on the streets.

Methods of teaching and learning were radically overhauled, and steps put in place to tackle poor attendance.

Some of the changes were viewed as controversial and last year, a small number of staff even threatened an afternoon of strike action claiming they were being overworked.

Despite the setbacks however, her changes soon paid dividends.

She added: “Over the last two years, exam results have improved, attendance has improved and the school has won a large number of national awards.

“It was even named third most improved school in the country for results and most improved school for attendance.

“This improvement could not have happened without the hard work of all members of the school community.

“I see no reason why, within the next few years, the school will not receive Ofsted’s highest accolade – Outstanding.

“It will be well deserved.”

Coun Ivan Taylor, cabinet member for Education thanked Mrs Ridgway for her work at the school.

He said: “Collegiate has made some great improvements in Cherry’s time as the head teacher.

“I hope the next head will keep up the good work and continue to improve the school, meaning children who study there will continue to get the best possible education.”