TWO SCHOOLS began the new term this week united in a federation with a shared executive headteacher.
Woolpit and Rougham primary schools will now collaborate following talks between governors last year.
The aim is to provide the schools with a stronger leadership team and to enhance specialist teaching across both.
The move follows the retirement of Woolpit’s head teacher, Anne O’Connell, at Christmas.
The two schools now share a headteacher in Karen Rees, current head of Rougham. Mrs Rees, who lives in Stowmarket, has been headteacher at Rougham for three and a half years. She will spend two and a half days a week at each school in her role as executive head teacher.
A new deputy headteacher has been appointed at Woolpit to provide day-to-day operational management. He is Shaun Holland who, before taking up this role, was Key Stage 2 teacher at St Louis Middle School, in Bury St Edmunds.
Both schools will retain their separate identities but will also benefit from economies of scale, achieved through joint purchasing, appointments and pooled resources.
Mrs Rees said: “This is a very exciting time for both schools and marks a new approach to leadership that will be particularly beneficial to keeping vibrant schools within our villages.
“I know both schools well, having been at Rougham since 2008 and having worked closely with Mrs O’Connell as part of our local cluster of schools. We have a strong team in place in each school, focused on delivering an excellent standard of teaching and learning to all the pupils.
“In addition, we’re already working as a combined team to explore ways in which we can share our resources and expertise for the future benefit of pupils in both schools.”
Rachel Gooch, chairman of Woolpit School governors, said: “Mrs O’Connell has been a fantastic head and we will miss her very much. We are thrilled to have been able to replace her in a way that will strengthen the school and provide it with great leadership in the years ahead.”
Ian Clarke, chairman of covernors at Rougham, said: “The launch of the federation between Rougham and Woolpit opens a really exciting new chapter for both schools and we are really looking forward to working together to make the most of our resources and skills for the benefit of all the pupils.”