Churchill Community College headteacher to step down at end of academic year

.Churchill Community College in North Tyneside.
Churchill Community College in North Tyneside -Credit:Iain Buist/Newcastle Chronicle

The headteacher of a Wallsend school will be stepping down from his role at the end of this academic year following an “extremely challenging year” for the college.

The resignation of Paul Johnson, headteacher of Churchill Community College, was announced last night on the school’s website, four years after he took the post. A statement signed by the chair of governors Tracey Booth thanked Mr Johnson for “his passion, hard work, and dedication”.

The statement goes on to say Mr Johnson led the school through one of its "most challenging periods".

Churchill Community College was branded as ‘inadequate’ by Ofsted following an inspection carried out in January this year. This subsequently triggered the process of academisation.

In addition, structural checks earlier this year found cracking and gaps in concrete ceiling blocks in two school blocks. These concrete blocks were made from a weak concrete mix commonly used at the time of the school’s construction in the 1960s.

A structural report makes clear that while individual blocks are at risk of collapse, there is no concern as to the overall stability of the building or significant collapse. However, the situation has led to year 7 and half of year 8 being educated off-site.

The school, North Tyneside Council, and the Department for Education are currently in talks to resolve the issue.

The chair of governors' statement read: “Most recently, Paul has led the school through one of our most challenging periods and worked tirelessly to ensure the safety of students and the school community. He was committed to quickly and safely getting pupils back to face-to-face education and advocating for Churchill on all levels.

“I know this will be sad news for many of you and I would like to take this opportunity to thank Paul for his passion, hard work, and dedication to our school.”

The statement continued: “It’s been an extremely challenging year for us all and on behalf of the governing body I want to extend our gratitude for your understanding and support.”

Lisa Cook, assistant director of education at North Tyneside Council, said: “We would like to thank Paul for his work as headteacher over the past four years.

“We are working closely with the school to appoint a headteacher and we will share more with parents and carers as soon as an appointment has been made.”