'Best headteacher' leaves Hatfield school

Children and headteacher drinking hot chocolate at table in secondary school, Hatfield

Hot Chocolate Friday with Onslow St Audrey's headteacher David Bullock to reward fantastic work from Year 8 students. - Credit: Onslow St Audrey's School

Parents were shocked to learn that a much-admired headteacher is leaving after just four years in the post.

David Bullock, headteacher of Hatfield's Onslow St Audrey's School, is set to depart before the end of term, according to a spokesperson from Herts county council (HCC).

Geoff Green said he sent his children to the school because of Mr Bullock's enthusiasm. 

"He's the best headteacher they've had in years. There was a real buzz and a positive feeling about the school," Geoff said.

However, one parent believes he is being "forced out", either because he feels that he is not receiving the support from Danes Educational Trust, which manages the school, or that he can't support the actions of the Trust.

The parent says he shares these sentiments with other parents they have spoken to: "I do not believe that Mr Bullock, having spoken so passionately to the children just two months ago, would leave so suddenly, halfway through the educational year. I do not believe that he would be tempted by another job offer, having taken on the job at Onslow."

Adding to their suspicions, the parent said that Onslow's entire board of governors had been removed by the trust.

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In response, the HCC spokesperson explained that the school is planning to appoint a new School Board (local governing body) during 2022, which will include an elected staff governor and parent governor.

Until then, the governance of the school is being overseen by an Interim Action Board, a group of experienced education professionals, whose role is to "both support and challenge the leadership of the school as part of the school’s improvement journey".

They added: "David would like to thank the school’s staff, parents and students for their phenomenal support, particularly through the pandemic, and he wishes them all the very best for the future.

“The trust expresses its gratitude to David for his service to the school and wishes him well.” 

David Croston, the headteacher at Chancellor's School, will be taking on the role of executive headteacher for an interim period.

David Bullock was contacted for comment but did not reply by the time of publication.

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