Hunstanton headteacher steps down to return to the classroom

Education news from the Lynn News,, @lynnnewscitizen on Twitter
Education news from the Lynn News,, @lynnnewscitizen on Twitter

Hunstanton headteacher Jon Goodchild is stepping down after 10 years at the helm to return to the classroom.

Mr Goodchild, 60, will be returning to Smithdon High School in the autumn as a maths and physics teacher and will be handing the reins to Paul Marsh.

Jon Goodchild Headmaster of Smithdon High School Hunstanton who is leaving. ANL-140906-123250009

Jon Goodchild Headmaster of Smithdon High School Hunstanton who is leaving. ANL-140906-123250009

Mr Goodchild, who originates from Lynn, has spent a decade as the school’s headteacher and now feels the time is right to head back to the classroom.

He said: “To be a headteacher you need incredible stamina and energy and I think at 60 some of that does go.

“I have been a headteacher for 17 years and at heart I am a teacher and I love being with young people in the classroom. I have always wanted to go back to teaching so this is fulfilling an ambition.”

Mr Goodchild, who has been teaching for 37 years, was partly inspired to go into the profession following a negative experience during his own school days.

He said: “I felt I could do the job quite well and I was making a difference to children’s lives and that felt good.”

Mr Goodchild’s first headteacher’s jobs was to turn around a school in Herefordshire, where Ofsted had highlighted serious weaknesses.

He said: “One of the best experiences in my time in education is when the inspector said the words: ‘This is a good school’. It made the five years slog of hard work worthwhile and it made a difference to the lives of a lot of children.”

After a seven-year stint at the school, Mr Goodchild was looking for another challenge and returned to Norfolk where he took the helm at Smithdon.

In 2011, the school was placed in special measures by Ofsted.

Mr Goodchild said: “The first five were extremely challenging. It was the hardest job I’ve had to face.”

The school is hoped to be lifted out of special measures shortly and a recent Ofsted monitoring visit highlighted pupils’ exemplary behaviour and GCSE results.

At the point when the school was placed in special measures, almost a quarter of its teachers were either on long-term sick or on maternity leave.

Mr Goodchild said the biggest problem facing West Norfolk schools is attracting good teachers.

He said: “It is the problem in West Norfolk and why many of our schools are struggling to be good as they can’t recruit staff.

“I don’t know why we have this problem. Maybe young people see it as geographically isolated or perceive that it doesn’t offer night life.”

Mr Goodchild, who has passed a dossier of the problems in recruiting staff to education minister and South West Norfolk MP Elizabeth Truss, also said academies are not the solution to problems in education.

He said: “The system itself is not the answer. It is the people in the system who make a difference.”