Letter from The Principal- June 2014
Please see the letter below from The Principal Mr Goulding sent on 20th June 2014.
A printable copy of the letter is also attached below.
I have decided to take the unusual step of writing to you just a few weeks before my usual letter
which will appear in the Hinchingbrooke Herald towards the end ofterm.
I have been concerned about the amount of mis-information, rumour and gossip that has found its
way back to my ears in recent weeks, concerning recruitment and staffing, and so I thought it best to
set the record straight and to allay any concerns.
The recruitment round of interviews largely comes to an end after 31st May, which is the cut-off date
for teachers employed in schools to resign if they wish to move to a new school in September. After
that time vacancies have to be filled by teachers not currently employed under a contract; that is,
agency staff, those who have retired, or any newly qualified teachers who have not already got a
We have made some excellent appointments during this process. We have in fact been able to overstaff
Science, a notoriously difficult area for recruitment, due to the national shortage of suitably
qualified teachers, particularly in Physics and Chemistry. This will enable us to run Science for years
10 and 11 in 7 sets instead of 6, making these set sizes slightly smaller. We have also put in
additional leadership capacity into this area by moving Alistair Dewar from year 10 to a post in
Whilst it is perhaps unfair to single out individuals, I am particularly pleased that the two key
vacancies that have arisen due to the well-deserved promotion of Vicky Horlock to an Assistant
Headship and the retirement of John Norris (Assistant Headteacher and Director of Sixth Form), have
been filled with top quality people. Mr Andrew Bennett is our new Head of Maths who has already
started with us after the May half term holiday and, to replace Mr Norris, who has served the school
for 36 years, we have appointed Charlie Fordham from Long Road Sixth Form College. Charlie read
English at Trinity College Cambridge, is an outstanding teacher and brings a wealth of experience to
this very important position. These appointments will ensure that we continue to make progress in
these critical areas of the school.
There are 20 staff out of a total of 140 teachers who are leaving in the Summer. Five of these are
retiring, two have come to the end of a short term contract which is not being renewed, three have
chosen to move to the Independent sector and four have gained promoted posts in the State sector.
This has emerged over recent months as the national recruitment cycle has taken place. I am sure
that many parents understand how this works, but I was incredulous to hear a rumour that they had
'all resigned en masse', with the implication being that they don't like the way the school is going!
Nothing could be further from the truth. Schools always have people coming up to retirement and
always have good staff who seek promotion. Sadly, not everyone can gain promotion internally, and
all teachers have personal considerations and private lives to lead as well as their professional ones
and these inevitably impact on their decisions about their careers.
Whilst I understand that students and parents are disappointed if a 'favourite' teacher leaves,
especially in the middle of a GCSE or A level course, overall, as long as the calibre of the recruited
staff at least matches the calibre of the outgoing staff, or preferably it is better, then the school will
continue to improve. We have very robust recruitment processes and I believe our new recruits will
do us proud. There are 8 newly qualified teachers who will bring enthusiasm and youth and we have
a good stock of experienced and forward thinking leaders throughout the school who are fully
committed to making the changes necessary to improve the school.
Whilst writing, I would also like to point out that not everything you read in the Hunts Post is to be
believed! There was a lot of mis-information recently about staff leaving and I think the figure
quoted was '12 left at Christmas with one person walking out in February.' This is complete
nonsense and, though several people urged me to write and correct this at the time, I do not believe
it is right to be conducting our business through the local newspaper. In fact, and for the record, five
staff left at Christmas, one of whom retired. I tried to persuade him to stay to the end of the year
but I'm afraid his wife's opinion carried more sway then mine, and so he left at Christmas! As for the
person who was supposed to have walked out, this was in fact a member of staff who decided when
her maternity leave expired, that she would like to remain at home with her baby.
In short, there is no reason at all to be concerned about recruitment at Hinchingbrooke. We are in
good shape and the staffing complement for September will help us to move forward on our journey
to improve the school. It is not a quick fix and I cannot promise perfection overnight, but I can
reassure you that we are moving in the right direction and that we have some excellent staff fully
committed to the cause.
Thank you for your support.