UPDATED: Executive head teacher jumps ship to take on new job at school in Yorkshire

St Gregory’s High School

St Gregory’s High School

First published in News
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THE executive head teacher of St Gregory’s High School and Cardinal Newman High School has left his post to ‘pursue other opportunities’ at a school in Yorkshire.

David Lewis, who took over leadership of both high schools in April 2013, has resigned to take on the job as head teacher at St Wilfrid's Catholic High School and Sixth Form College.

Mr Lewis had previously worked at the school in Wakefield from September 1998 to April 2006 and was credited by Ofsted as transforming a once failing school into an outstanding educational establishment.

A source said: "He has jumped ship again. His photo was on the school's website before he'd even left St. Gregory's."

It is understood Cardinal Newman’s head of school Julie Warburton and St Gregory’s head of school Rosemary Howard-Rigby have taken on interim leadership.

Andrew Dawson will start as interim head teacher after the Easter holidays.

Mr Lewis has been subject to intense scrutiny over the last 12 months after it was revealed that despite his success at St Wilfrid's, he had previously worked at a failing school in Sheffield.

During his time at Sheffield Springs Academy as principal, the school was told it needed to rapidly improve by Ofsted.

Questions were later raised about Mr Lewis’ abilities as executive head teacher after both schools were criticised by Ofsted during his leadership.

Cardinal Newman was given a rating of ‘requires improvement’ following an inspection from Ofsted in December.

Despite the school being praised for its teaching and the achievement of pupils, the governing body were flagged up by inspectors for not having an ‘accurate enough view of students’ achievement’.

St Gregory’s High School was also slammed by Ofsted for ‘dull’ teaching, ‘disruptive’ lessons and for failing to meet students’ learning needs and was consequently placed in special measures.

It follows a visit from inspectors in December, which saw the Cromwell Avenue school drop from outstanding to inadequate.

A spokesman for the council confirmed that Mr Lewis had resigned to pursue other opportunities and that adverts have now been published to recruit a headteacher and deputy headteacher  and were unable to comment any further.

Comments (13)

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12:55pm Tue 15 Apr 14

Mike_1979 says...

"Questions were later raised about Mr Lewis’ abilities as executive head teacher after both schools were criticised by Ofsted during his leadership."

This isn't the case at all, in fact Mr Lewis has been noted throughout as having started improvements before Ofsted noted them and having resolved many of the issues with the academic side of things at St Gregory's.

In addition, during the parent's meeting after the school was placed into special measures there was clear evidence of the improvements he'd made and a concern that given the fact that the 2 schools were being de-federated that he may leave.

The reason for his departure seems clear, since the schools were de-federated, there is no longer a position for an Executive Headteacher and he was therefore redundant.

Incidentally the parents of both schools were informed of this weeks ago and the arrangements that had been made for leadership through the summer term. This is not the breaking news that The Guardian thinks it is, nor is this a headteacher "jumping ship".
"Questions were later raised about Mr Lewis’ abilities as executive head teacher after both schools were criticised by Ofsted during his leadership." This isn't the case at all, in fact Mr Lewis has been noted throughout as having started improvements before Ofsted noted them and having resolved many of the issues with the academic side of things at St Gregory's. In addition, during the parent's meeting after the school was placed into special measures there was clear evidence of the improvements he'd made and a concern that given the fact that the 2 schools were being de-federated that he may leave. The reason for his departure seems clear, since the schools were de-federated, there is no longer a position for an Executive Headteacher and he was therefore redundant. Incidentally the parents of both schools were informed of this weeks ago and the arrangements that had been made for leadership through the summer term. This is not the breaking news that The Guardian thinks it is, nor is this a headteacher "jumping ship". Mike_1979
  • Score: 14

1:34pm Tue 15 Apr 14

rachf says...

Yet another sensationalist headline from the Warrington Guardian.

As Mike_1979 correctly points out, as the two schools were de-federated, the position of Executive Head no longer exists.

It would be nice to have the local paper support the school in these challenging times, not be seemingly hell bent on reporting in such a negative fashion.
Yet another sensationalist headline from the Warrington Guardian. As Mike_1979 correctly points out, as the two schools were de-federated, the position of Executive Head no longer exists. It would be nice to have the local paper support the school in these challenging times, not be seemingly hell bent on reporting in such a negative fashion. rachf
  • Score: 14

7:28pm Tue 15 Apr 14

Magbag says...

Have Ofsted revisited yet or are they about to revisit?
Have Ofsted revisited yet or are they about to revisit? Magbag
  • Score: -2

10:26pm Tue 15 Apr 14

Mumof3teenagers says...

St Gregory's has problems, like all high schools acceoss the UK. Mr Lewis actually implemented excellent improvements in the school. Which will carry on despite him not being there.
The school does need to improve and the staff that are there will strive to implement this.
Let's look at the positive areas the school . The teachers and pupils strive so hard to achieve.and hopefully it will be an outstanding school once again. Instead of trying to scare monger and worry parents whose children are due to commence the school in September .
St Gregory's has problems, like all high schools acceoss the UK. Mr Lewis actually implemented excellent improvements in the school. Which will carry on despite him not being there. The school does need to improve and the staff that are there will strive to implement this. Let's look at the positive areas the school . The teachers and pupils strive so hard to achieve.and hopefully it will be an outstanding school once again. Instead of trying to scare monger and worry parents whose children are due to commence the school in September . Mumof3teenagers
  • Score: 10

2:09am Wed 16 Apr 14

PageA says...

I think feedback from pupils in previous articles has questioned whether the school was ever outstanding. Some of the pupils reported that the school was good at playing the ofsted game during inspections. I dont think it's about scaremongering. I think these parents know the score and will expect improvements to be made and fast. Keeping alid on parents expectations is probably what got you into this mess in the first place..in my opinion
I think feedback from pupils in previous articles has questioned whether the school was ever outstanding. Some of the pupils reported that the school was good at playing the ofsted game during inspections. I dont think it's about scaremongering. I think these parents know the score and will expect improvements to be made and fast. Keeping alid on parents expectations is probably what got you into this mess in the first place..in my opinion PageA
  • Score: 1

7:23am Wed 16 Apr 14

rachf says...

You're quite right PageA, parents DO know the score. And that's because they attended the meeting at the school, have read the communications from the school, and not taken their information from the hearsay and rumour that has been spouted on here.
I would implore anyone who is thinking of sending their children to St. Gregory's this September to ignore what is written in this paper and go and visit the school itself.
You're quite right PageA, parents DO know the score. And that's because they attended the meeting at the school, have read the communications from the school, and not taken their information from the hearsay and rumour that has been spouted on here. I would implore anyone who is thinking of sending their children to St. Gregory's this September to ignore what is written in this paper and go and visit the school itself. rachf
  • Score: 10

8:56am Mon 21 Apr 14

PageA says...

rachf wrote:
You're quite right PageA, parents DO know the score. And that's because they attended the meeting at the school, have read the communications from the school, and not taken their information from the hearsay and rumour that has been spouted on here.
I would implore anyone who is thinking of sending their children to St. Gregory's this September to ignore what is written in this paper and go and visit the school itself.
I don't think you'd find out much from a visit from the school. Probably better to speak to some of the pupils. I spoke to a current pupil last week who talked of a real lack of discipline in class which he felt had been detrimental to his education for the past 5 years. During this time the communications from the school were excellent. Parents ignore ofsted an newspaper reports at their peril. Possibly you're a parent who much preferred telling your friends about the outstanding school your children attended rather than the one under special measures or you're employed by the school and would like the heat off a little. Either way, head in the sand is never the best approach. This is a great opportunity to build a supportive relationship between parents and staff for the benefit of all the pupils.
[quote][p][bold]rachf[/bold] wrote: You're quite right PageA, parents DO know the score. And that's because they attended the meeting at the school, have read the communications from the school, and not taken their information from the hearsay and rumour that has been spouted on here. I would implore anyone who is thinking of sending their children to St. Gregory's this September to ignore what is written in this paper and go and visit the school itself.[/p][/quote]I don't think you'd find out much from a visit from the school. Probably better to speak to some of the pupils. I spoke to a current pupil last week who talked of a real lack of discipline in class which he felt had been detrimental to his education for the past 5 years. During this time the communications from the school were excellent. Parents ignore ofsted an newspaper reports at their peril. Possibly you're a parent who much preferred telling your friends about the outstanding school your children attended rather than the one under special measures or you're employed by the school and would like the heat off a little. Either way, head in the sand is never the best approach. This is a great opportunity to build a supportive relationship between parents and staff for the benefit of all the pupils. PageA
  • Score: 0

10:37am Mon 21 Apr 14

rachf says...

PageA wrote:
rachf wrote:
You're quite right PageA, parents DO know the score. And that's because they attended the meeting at the school, have read the communications from the school, and not taken their information from the hearsay and rumour that has been spouted on here.
I would implore anyone who is thinking of sending their children to St. Gregory's this September to ignore what is written in this paper and go and visit the school itself.
I don't think you'd find out much from a visit from the school. Probably better to speak to some of the pupils. I spoke to a current pupil last week who talked of a real lack of discipline in class which he felt had been detrimental to his education for the past 5 years. During this time the communications from the school were excellent. Parents ignore ofsted an newspaper reports at their peril. Possibly you're a parent who much preferred telling your friends about the outstanding school your children attended rather than the one under special measures or you're employed by the school and would like the heat off a little. Either way, head in the sand is never the best approach. This is a great opportunity to build a supportive relationship between parents and staff for the benefit of all the pupils.
I am neither a parent of a child at the school, nor am I employed there.

I do have links to the school so I know the full story of what has happened in recent months. No - one connected to St. Gregory's has their head in the sand, I can assure you of that.

My point was that if potential parents took on board only the gossip and hearsay that is reported in this paper then they are missing out on a whole host of positive things that the school has to offer.

If you had been at the special meeting which was called after the Ofsted report was released you would have seen that the majority of parents there supported the headteacher and did not want him to go. The decision to defederate meant that unfortunately this had to happen.
[quote][p][bold]PageA[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]rachf[/bold] wrote: You're quite right PageA, parents DO know the score. And that's because they attended the meeting at the school, have read the communications from the school, and not taken their information from the hearsay and rumour that has been spouted on here. I would implore anyone who is thinking of sending their children to St. Gregory's this September to ignore what is written in this paper and go and visit the school itself.[/p][/quote]I don't think you'd find out much from a visit from the school. Probably better to speak to some of the pupils. I spoke to a current pupil last week who talked of a real lack of discipline in class which he felt had been detrimental to his education for the past 5 years. During this time the communications from the school were excellent. Parents ignore ofsted an newspaper reports at their peril. Possibly you're a parent who much preferred telling your friends about the outstanding school your children attended rather than the one under special measures or you're employed by the school and would like the heat off a little. Either way, head in the sand is never the best approach. This is a great opportunity to build a supportive relationship between parents and staff for the benefit of all the pupils.[/p][/quote]I am neither a parent of a child at the school, nor am I employed there. I do have links to the school so I know the full story of what has happened in recent months. No - one connected to St. Gregory's has their head in the sand, I can assure you of that. My point was that if potential parents took on board only the gossip and hearsay that is reported in this paper then they are missing out on a whole host of positive things that the school has to offer. If you had been at the special meeting which was called after the Ofsted report was released you would have seen that the majority of parents there supported the headteacher and did not want him to go. The decision to defederate meant that unfortunately this had to happen. rachf
  • Score: 2

11:19am Mon 21 Apr 14

PageA says...

rachf wrote:
PageA wrote:
rachf wrote:
You're quite right PageA, parents DO know the score. And that's because they attended the meeting at the school, have read the communications from the school, and not taken their information from the hearsay and rumour that has been spouted on here.
I would implore anyone who is thinking of sending their children to St. Gregory's this September to ignore what is written in this paper and go and visit the school itself.
I don't think you'd find out much from a visit from the school. Probably better to speak to some of the pupils. I spoke to a current pupil last week who talked of a real lack of discipline in class which he felt had been detrimental to his education for the past 5 years. During this time the communications from the school were excellent. Parents ignore ofsted an newspaper reports at their peril. Possibly you're a parent who much preferred telling your friends about the outstanding school your children attended rather than the one under special measures or you're employed by the school and would like the heat off a little. Either way, head in the sand is never the best approach. This is a great opportunity to build a supportive relationship between parents and staff for the benefit of all the pupils.
I am neither a parent of a child at the school, nor am I employed there.

I do have links to the school so I know the full story of what has happened in recent months. No - one connected to St. Gregory's has their head in the sand, I can assure you of that.

My point was that if potential parents took on board only the gossip and hearsay that is reported in this paper then they are missing out on a whole host of positive things that the school has to offer.

If you had been at the special meeting which was called after the Ofsted report was released you would have seen that the majority of parents there supported the headteacher and did not want him to go. The decision to defederate meant that unfortunately this had to happen.
Curious to know how someone who doesn't have children at the school or is employed by them has links and would be in attendance at the special meeting? So are you local authority? When this story was first reported I read with interest the opinions of many young people who attend the school and agreed with the critisism made against it. You call that hearsay and rumour or maybe put it down to a large group of people with axes to grind. I call it 'straight from the horses mouth' and it was backed up by my own conversation with a pupil and their parents only last week. Why are you so keen to stifle the debate? Why do you want us to ignore what we read and believe that everything in the garden is rosey, as communicated only through the official channels
[quote][p][bold]rachf[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]PageA[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]rachf[/bold] wrote: You're quite right PageA, parents DO know the score. And that's because they attended the meeting at the school, have read the communications from the school, and not taken their information from the hearsay and rumour that has been spouted on here. I would implore anyone who is thinking of sending their children to St. Gregory's this September to ignore what is written in this paper and go and visit the school itself.[/p][/quote]I don't think you'd find out much from a visit from the school. Probably better to speak to some of the pupils. I spoke to a current pupil last week who talked of a real lack of discipline in class which he felt had been detrimental to his education for the past 5 years. During this time the communications from the school were excellent. Parents ignore ofsted an newspaper reports at their peril. Possibly you're a parent who much preferred telling your friends about the outstanding school your children attended rather than the one under special measures or you're employed by the school and would like the heat off a little. Either way, head in the sand is never the best approach. This is a great opportunity to build a supportive relationship between parents and staff for the benefit of all the pupils.[/p][/quote]I am neither a parent of a child at the school, nor am I employed there. I do have links to the school so I know the full story of what has happened in recent months. No - one connected to St. Gregory's has their head in the sand, I can assure you of that. My point was that if potential parents took on board only the gossip and hearsay that is reported in this paper then they are missing out on a whole host of positive things that the school has to offer. If you had been at the special meeting which was called after the Ofsted report was released you would have seen that the majority of parents there supported the headteacher and did not want him to go. The decision to defederate meant that unfortunately this had to happen.[/p][/quote]Curious to know how someone who doesn't have children at the school or is employed by them has links and would be in attendance at the special meeting? So are you local authority? When this story was first reported I read with interest the opinions of many young people who attend the school and agreed with the critisism made against it. You call that hearsay and rumour or maybe put it down to a large group of people with axes to grind. I call it 'straight from the horses mouth' and it was backed up by my own conversation with a pupil and their parents only last week. Why are you so keen to stifle the debate? Why do you want us to ignore what we read and believe that everything in the garden is rosey, as communicated only through the official channels PageA
  • Score: -2

11:27am Mon 21 Apr 14

rachf says...

If you read my comments properly, I haven't called any pupils opinions hearsay or rumour, my comments relate directly to this story of the head teacher 'jumping ship' ?

No - one wants to stifle debate, it would just be nice for facts to be reported once in a while.
If you read my comments properly, I haven't called any pupils opinions hearsay or rumour, my comments relate directly to this story of the head teacher 'jumping ship' ? No - one wants to stifle debate, it would just be nice for facts to be reported once in a while. rachf
  • Score: 2

12:34pm Mon 21 Apr 14

PageA says...

rachf wrote:
If you read my comments properly, I haven't called any pupils opinions hearsay or rumour, my comments relate directly to this story of the head teacher 'jumping ship' ?

No - one wants to stifle debate, it would just be nice for facts to be reported once in a while.
You make reference to ' nice for facts to be reported once in a while' and 'yet another sensationalist headline' so you are not only referring to this story. You also tell parents to ignore the guardian and believe only official channels if their child is attending in September. That's a bit of an over reaction to this story isn't it? Are you employed by the LA?
[quote][p][bold]rachf[/bold] wrote: If you read my comments properly, I haven't called any pupils opinions hearsay or rumour, my comments relate directly to this story of the head teacher 'jumping ship' ? No - one wants to stifle debate, it would just be nice for facts to be reported once in a while.[/p][/quote]You make reference to ' nice for facts to be reported once in a while' and 'yet another sensationalist headline' so you are not only referring to this story. You also tell parents to ignore the guardian and believe only official channels if their child is attending in September. That's a bit of an over reaction to this story isn't it? Are you employed by the LA? PageA
  • Score: -2

2:02pm Mon 21 Apr 14

rachf says...

It's no over reaction at all; I merely feel that the WG almost revels in it's negative reporting when it comes to the school.
The current Head of School, alongside the now departed Executive Head have started to implement measures to improve areas of the school and, as stated, these have been received well by parents.
I am not, never have been and never will be employed by the LEA, thank goodness!
My point is that, if you want facts, speak to the school and not, as the old saying goes, believe everything you read in the paper!
It's no over reaction at all; I merely feel that the WG almost revels in it's negative reporting when it comes to the school. The current Head of School, alongside the now departed Executive Head have started to implement measures to improve areas of the school and, as stated, these have been received well by parents. I am not, never have been and never will be employed by the LEA, thank goodness! My point is that, if you want facts, speak to the school and not, as the old saying goes, believe everything you read in the paper! rachf
  • Score: 2

5:57pm Mon 21 Apr 14

PageA says...

rachf wrote:
It's no over reaction at all; I merely feel that the WG almost revels in it's negative reporting when it comes to the school.
The current Head of School, alongside the now departed Executive Head have started to implement measures to improve areas of the school and, as stated, these have been received well by parents.
I am not, never have been and never will be employed by the LEA, thank goodness!
My point is that, if you want facts, speak to the school and not, as the old saying goes, believe everything you read in the paper!
I do take your point.. but my point is that, although according to the school everything was tickety boo for years, quite a sizeable number of pupils considered that previous favourable OFSTED reports had not been a true reflection. This newspaper gave the young people a forum to express their thoughts and, as an insight, this was much more credible than the official line in my opinion. What are the facts? ' ‘dull’ teaching, ‘disruptive’ lessons and for failing to meet students’ learning needs'...Is that the information that the school are giving out to concerned parents looking for reassurance? Or are they using different facts
[quote][p][bold]rachf[/bold] wrote: It's no over reaction at all; I merely feel that the WG almost revels in it's negative reporting when it comes to the school. The current Head of School, alongside the now departed Executive Head have started to implement measures to improve areas of the school and, as stated, these have been received well by parents. I am not, never have been and never will be employed by the LEA, thank goodness! My point is that, if you want facts, speak to the school and not, as the old saying goes, believe everything you read in the paper![/p][/quote]I do take your point.. but my point is that, although according to the school everything was tickety boo for years, quite a sizeable number of pupils considered that previous favourable OFSTED reports had not been a true reflection. This newspaper gave the young people a forum to express their thoughts and, as an insight, this was much more credible than the official line in my opinion. What are the facts? ' ‘dull’ teaching, ‘disruptive’ lessons and for failing to meet students’ learning needs'...Is that the information that the school are giving out to concerned parents looking for reassurance? Or are they using different facts PageA
  • Score: 0

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