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New director for teaching school alliance

Mandy Sands, Jacqui Watkins and Helen Ashe
Mandy Sands, Jacqui Watkins and Helen Ashe

A teaching school alliance which helped a Bury St Edmunds school secure a ‘good’ Ofsted has appointed a new director.

The connectED Teaching School Alliance (TSA), based at Barrow Primary School, has welcomed Jacqui Watkins, who has extensive experience as a headteacher.

She has succeeded Mandy Sands, who launched the TSA four years ago and is retiring to Scotland.

Teaching schools such as connectED play a key role in the training and professional development of teachers as well as contributing to raising standards through school to school support.

They are part of the Government’s drive to enable schools to take increasing responsibility for managing the education system.

Mrs Sands said: “It’s been a hugely satisfying four years and I feel very proud of our achievements, which have had a positive impact on outcomes for a significant number of children and young people across the county.”

The TSA’s success has reached as far as Lowestoft and it provided school to school support to Tollgate Primary, in Bury St Edmunds.

It won £12,000 worth of DfE school improvement funding, which allowed leaders and teachers from Barrow Primary to work alongside Tollgate staff and its then acting headteacher Greg Sadler.

Tollgate has recently received a ‘good’ Ofsted.

Helen Ashe, headteacher at Barrow and the connectED TSA’s lead headteacher, said: “I’m enormously proud of the TSA’s impact locally.

“This has been made possible by Mandy’s tireless efforts in developing connectED’s strong reputation.

“Moving forward, I’m excited at the prospect of working with Jacqui, who joins us with impressive credentials and a clear vision for the future.”


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