Resort headteacher quits during summer break

Des Kennedy, who stepped down as head of St Cuthert's after 12 years in charge
Des Kennedy, who stepped down as head of St Cuthert's after 12 years in charge
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A Blackpool headteacher has walked away from his job during the school’s summer break, it was announced.

Des Kennedy is said to have cleared his desk at St Cuthbert’s Primary Academy at the weekend, leaving fellow teachers stunned.

The trust running the academy said Mr Kennedy decided to move on during the summer after more than a decade in charge.

Stephen Tierney, former head at St Mary’s and current chief executive at the Blessed Edward Bamber Catholic Multi-Academy Trust, which runs the South Shore school, will take over until a replacement can be found.

He will be supported by Sarah Smith, headteacher at Christ the King Catholic Academy, which is also run by the trust, it was announced.

Chairman Barry Leyland said Mr Kennedy ‘decided it was time for him to move on after 12 years’.

In a letter due to be sent home with pupils today, he said: “I know he enjoyed leading the school and leaves with many happy memories of the children, families, staff and governors he worked with over these years.

“In allowing him to leave at relatively short notice, the directors will want to consider the best way forward for St. Cuthbert’s.

“We will do this at our meeting in October after a period of thought and deliberation.

“Of the greatest importance to us will be ensuring your children have the highest possible standard of education and supporting the staff who we rely on to deliver it.”

Staff turned up to work on Monday, ahead of the new term – which started today – to be told the news.

“They were told he had resigned and had collected his stuff over the weekend,” said one person associated with the school.

“The staff are really upset about it – everybody really liked him.

“They were told it was his decision to leave.”

Mr Tierney said: “He will be missed by colleagues from across the three academies.

“We wish him every success in his new role.”

St Cuthbert’s was found to have ‘serious weaknesses’ by education watchdog Ofsted in 2013, when it was called St Cuthbert’s Catholic Primary School.

A year later, it said it was making progress towards ‘the removal of the serious weakness designation’.

But it was still ordered to become an academy by the government, and did so on September 1, 2014.

Ofsted has yet to visit the school in its new form.