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Head says Government interference was partly behind decision to quit

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: February 27, 2014

Don Smith

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A HEAD teacher at a Burton secondary school has said interferences from the Government which are ‘not in the best interests of children’ are partly behind his decision to quit the role.

Don Smith, who is to leave Paget High School in the summer, listed the Department for Education among reasons he had decided to call time on his career.

Mr Smith has been at the helm at the Branston school since 2000, in which time he has overseen an upturn in standards and received praise from education chiefs.

His departure will bring the curtain down on a 39-year teaching career.

In a statement, Mr Smith said: “I decided to go now while I’m still delivering at a high level, because I don’t want to continue to implement Department for Education initiatives which I don’t support or feel are in the best interests of schools and young people and because it is a tough job and can be wearing.”

Mr Smith is not the first education chief in Burton to criticise the Government over the direction it is taking schools in.

Burton-based head and chairman of the National Association of Head Teachers Bernadette Hunter publicly challenged Education Secretary Michael Gove at the body’s annual conference last year, saying heads were unhappy with the introduction of ‘pointless’ exams, while there was also anger directed towards Ofsted.

Despite his feelings on the Government, Mr Smith said he would leave the school, in Burton Road, with only good memories and was proud with what he had achieved in his near decade-and-a-half in charge.

The school was one of only 51 across the country to see continuous improvement in terms of GCSE results between 2006 and 2012.

He said: “I have enjoyed my time at Paget immensely and will miss greatly the day-to-day involvement with the community, the youngsters and the staff. I like to think that relationships have been very positive and that everyone has valued what the school has been aiming to deliver.

“I believe that Paget is well positioned to deliver further success and that the support of the community, the students and the staff will help them to take Paget to the next level.”

A new head teacher is expected to be chosen in the next few weeks and will take the reins from September.

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