The new headteacher of a Horsham school has said she is ‘thrilled’ to be taking the post.
Former deputy headteacher Donna Jagger is to become head of Arunside Primary School following the departure of Rich Roberts.
She said: “I’m thrilled to be able to lead. I have been here as deputy head for four years.
“I had a short period as acting head. When this job came up it was a no brainer really because of the quality of the staff we have.
“The behaviour of the children is exceptional. The visitors to the school always comment on what a wonderful, calm atmosphere it is.”
Donna paid tribute to the previous head Rich, who is moving to lead a school nearer his home.
She said there were many reasons to thank him but the school’s direction change, which he masterminded, was key.
Donna added: “[Rich’s leadership] has left a huge impression on children’s progress and also his leadership style is to trust us staff to do our jobs and to do it well.
“Teachers do not leave here they want to stay, they love the school and that has strengthened the team and Rich has enabled that to happen.”
Rich, who has led the school since January 17, said he would miss the support offered by the other staff.
He added: “It’s been rather special. The school needed to go in a different direction and [that’s] why I’m happy to be leaving at this stage.
“It’s gone in a different direction, a positive direction very quickly. Being a head teacher is not easy but overwhelmingly easier than most because of the people in this place. It’s a wonderful group of people.”
Donna has bolstered her team by appointing music specialist Anna Hadden as new deputy head.
Donna said: “I’m really really pleased to have her as part of our team. We’re in a perfect place to move alongside the new curriculum.”
In the future Donna hopes to build on the school’s position as a hub for the community.
She said: “We have a school which has incredible facilities. We want all children to have a really good education.
“We’re really aiming to be a hub of our community. To provide opportunities for children across Horsham to come and use the facilities we have.
“We need to let our community know just the kind of things that are going on in this school.”
Donna hopes to promote the school as educating both its pupils and those from other schools.
A joint science event saw Arunside share its facilities with children from around the area.
She added: “We want the best for the children in our school but actually we want the best for all children.”
The school has held several events to bring pupils and the community together.
Staff celebrated diversity in the school by inviting a professional group in to teach year one pupils international dance, music and song and the pupils in year five developed their design and technology skills when they built bird boxes at Millais.
Teachers also welcomed the judges of Horsham in Bloom as the school received third prize.
But this isn’t the only accolade the school has gained.
Arunside also achieved the silver eco-award and year six teacher Gill Edson won the Primary Sussex teacher of the year award.
The school council also arranged a collection for Horsham foodbank, filling a people carrier car with packages to support the charity and the PTA summer fair raised more than £5,000 to go towards the school.
Donna added: “We wanted to support our community so the school council did a huge collection and our parents were exceptionally generous.”
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