Mystery surrounds resignation of Todmorden High School’s headteacher

Andrew Whitaker
Andrew Whitaker
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Mystery surrounds the sudden departure of Todmorden High School’s headteacher.

Andrew Whitaker resigned last month after standing at the helm of the school for three years and bringing a “transformational” change in that time.

Most notably, the school moved from the bottom five per cent of schools nationally to the top 18 per cent nationally under his headship.

But the reasons for his resignation remain unknown, with Calderale Council and school governors refusing to comment any further.

A letter from governors to parents and published on the school’s website said the school had improved quickly under his leadership.

The letter informed parents: “It is with regret that I inform our community that Andrew Whitaker, Headteacher at Todmorden High School, has resigned following three years of employment with the school.

“Throughout the three years that Andrew has been our head teacher, we have seen a transformational change. The school was rated ‘Good’ by Ofsted for the first time in its history and the school moved from the bottom five per cent of schools nationally to the top 18 per cent in just three short years.”

It went on to say: “Todmorden High School moved from being the worst performing school within Calderdale to being one of the top three schools.

“As a result of such significant change, the school has been chosen as one of 12 schools nationally to be featured in this year’s ‘Parliamentary Review’ to share with other schools, policy makers and leading professionals in education, the transformation that has taken place. Andrew has led the school through this change with an exceptional staff body and we have an outstanding student community.

“I am therefore confident that our journey to becoming an outstanding school will continue and the students and the community of Todmorden will continue to receive the very best education. The governors would like to take this opportunity to express our thanks for the work that Andrew has done for the school and the community over the last three years.”

Gill Shirt is acting headteacher.

Councillor Megan Swift, Calderdale Council’s member for children and young people’s services, said the council is working closely with Todmorden High School to manage its ongoing budget shortfall to ensure it can balance the books within three years.

It was hoped that Mr Whitaker’s successor would be appointed fairly quickly and would continue the good progress being made by Todmorden High School, said Coun Swift.

She added: “As the school was rated ‘Good’ by Ofsted after an inspection last year we are very confident that we will soon be able to appoint a strong leader who will continue the school’s progress towards ‘Outstanding’.”