As we approach the last day of term, I want to give you an update on the redeployment situation for the deputy head teacher post at Pencaitland Primary School so that you know what to expect when the next academic year starts.
Some of you may be aware that Richard Jennings, the Head of Education, attended the Annual General Meeting on Wednesday, 15 June. We had very short notice of this and therefore it was impossible to let parents know or to reschedule the meeting, which is unfortunate, but for those parents who did attend the meeting, it was an opportunity to ask some questions about the process and for the Parent Council to continue to seek more involvement in the process.
Following on from that meeting, members of the Parent Council had a further discussion with Richard Jennings and Don Ledingham, Executive Director of Eduction and Children’s Services on Tuesday, 28 June. We are pleased to report that the Council have accepted that communication could have been clearer about the process in general and specifically about what was going to happen at Pencaitland Primary School and that there should have been earlier engagement with the Parent Council.
Since there hasn’t been sufficient time for both the Head Teacher and the Parent Council to meet the proposed new deputy head, there will be a pause in the process over the summer to allow full and meaningful consultation. This is great news for the parent voice at Pencaitland Primary School.
Redeployment is different from recruitment and selection, and we accept that the Council can choose to redeploy teachers as required, but we have successfully argued that there was a lack of consultation with the Parent Council and that view has been accepted.
The proposed new Deputy Head Teacher will start at Pencaitland Primary School sometime early in the new academic year but the date is as yet unknown. When that person starts, it is expected that there will be a transitional period, probably until Christmas. During that period of time, Emma Kerr will be acting Deputy Head Teacher as well as teaching P6 for two days. This will provide the pupils and the school with continuity and stability through this time of change.
As you know, our current Deputy Head, Elise Rees, is the preferred candidate for a permanent deputy head teacher post in another school and we wish her continued success in her new job.
Don Ledingham has also asked the Parent Council to assist East Lothian Council in developing a protocol for redeployment. I think this is an excellent opportunity for the Parent Council to make an effective contribution at local authority level.
Once again, I want to thank you for your support for signing the petition. We will continue to keep you informed of developments.
One final comment from me as Chair (but I’m still around and involved in this issue for a little while). It has been a real pleasure serving as Chair of Pencaitland Primary School Parent Council for the past three years. I wish my successor, Sarah Kurt-Elli, all the best.
With all good wishes for a bright and sunny summer.