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A new phase for QEMS, says headteacher

By This is Tamworth  |  Posted: January 14, 2010

Michael York joined QEMS this month, replacing former head Kevin Debney, who stepped down from the top spot after being asked to take early retirement in December.

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A TROUBLED Tamworth high school has been ringing in the changes since the new term began with brand-new leadership.

Michael York is now at the helm of Queen Elizabeth's Mercian School following the sudden departure of former head Kevin Debney.

The Herald reported last month how Mr Debney had been asked to take early retirement by education bosses, following a recent Ofsted report.

Although details of the report remain confidential until its publication, it is understood that the school is expected to be officially classed as 'failing' by the government inspectorate.

Mr York was brought in from Burton's de Ferrers Specialist Technology College – one of the leading schools in the county – where he has been head for almost 13 years.

Introducing himself to parents this week, Mr York described his first week at QEMS.

"I began my first week speaking to and meeting all the students," he said. "I have to say that I was very impressed with the welcome they have given me.

"They made me feel at home very quickly.

"The staff have also been extremely welcoming and it is clear that there is tremendous support, both internally and externally, for this school to be successful at the highest level."

Unfortunately, the weather did not offer him the same warm welcome. But he explained: "I was very impressed with the way that the students conducted themselves in very difficult conditions.

"The staff, despite the snow and ice in some parts of the Midlands, managed to get in and help me to make sure that we remained open."

Mr York joins QEMS as an 'executive headteacher', with more than 20 years experience in senior management.

He takes on the role as head in addition to his position as the principal of de Ferrers Specialist Technology College.

An 11 to 19 college, de Ferrers has more than 1,900 students on roll.

"Prior to de Ferrers, I was the headteacher for nine years of Derby Moor Community School, with 1,200 students, in Derby city," Mr York said.

"I look forward to working with parents, students, staff at QEMS and the wider community of Tamworth."

As for the school's forth-coming Ofsted report Mr York said: "I have been asked about the Ofsted report and its publication.

"The situation is beyond my control and also that of the local authority.

"Ofsted will make the final report available sometime this half-term."

As soon as the report is published, Mr York explained, parents will receive it 'straight away'. Students will also receive a letter from the Ofsted inspection team.

"The local authority, governors and staff are aware of the contents of the draft report and I'm afraid it does not read well for the school," Mr York added.

"There are, however, some very positive aspects, particularly surrounding the behaviour, safeguarding, some aspects of teaching and learning and, very importantly, the support parents have given to the school."

In the meantime, Mr York explained: "I view this term as a new phase in the development of QEMS, where we will build on the very positive aspects of the school and really focus on making QEMS a centre of excellence.

"This is essential as we approach the exciting prospect of creating, physically, a new school for generations of students to come."

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    Sarah, Cornwall  |  February 04 2010, 4:04PM

    What on earth is going on ? QEMS used to be the best school in Tamworth !