Headteacher to retire at 57 as Ofsted inspection report due

Graham School headteacher Helen McEvoy has announced she will be retiring at the end of term.
Graham School headteacher Helen McEvoy has announced she will be retiring at the end of term.

A Scarborough headteacher says she is opting for sudden retirement – days after Ofsted carried out an inspection at the troubled school.

Inspectors were at Graham School last week with the report expected to be published in the near future.

Graham School

Graham School

Now, headteacher Helen McEvoy has revealed she is to leave her post at the end of the term to retire at the age of 57 after three years at the helm.

A North Yorkshire County Council spokesman said: “Helen McEvoy has been discussing her intentions with the local authority in recent months and North Yorkshire County Council is now working with the school’s governors to ensure continuity of leadership and to enable the school to address rapidly any key issues that arise from a recent Ofsted inspection.

“The county council wishes to thank Helen McEvoy for her hard work and leadership over the past three years and wishes her well for the future.”

Mrs McEvoy was appointed headteacher of Graham School in January 2014 to turn the tides of the school after it was placed in special measures following an ‘inadequate’ Ofsted rating.

The Ofsted report, from December 2013, highlighted a number of key issues that needed addressing including attainment in maths and English as well as inadequate teaching leading to inadequate progress for students.

She joined Graham School from Nuneaton Academy in Warwickshire, and said when she took on the new role: “Students are at the heart of what we do. At Graham School we must all pull together to make sure that our young people achieve well and that we fully prepare them for a future that is right for them.”

Scarborough’s largest school made “significant improvements” under Mrs McEvoy, according to Ofsted when they returned for an inspection in November 2015.

Although the school was given an overall effectiveness grade of ‘requires improvement’, inspectors found the leadership and management of the school was ‘good’.

The report stated: “The school is well led by a determined and resilient senior leadership team and a strong governing body. There is a palpable and positive change in the culture and ethos of the school as a result.”

Graham School was found to be below average in the performance league tables designed to measure pupils’ progress during their time at school last year. The school’s Progress 8 score was -0.57 in 2016, compared to the national average of 0, while its Attainment 8 score fell short of national (48.5) and North Yorkshire (51.8) averages with a lowly 40.7. Graham School announced it is to close the former Raincliffe School site in September due to a decline of pupils from 1,579 in 2010 to just 1,065 at present.

The Woodlands Drive school was visited again by Ofsted inspectors in January following complaints, which raised concerns about the leadership and management of pupils’ personal development, behaviour and welfare. While many pupils behaved well, “too often” their learning was interrupted by poor or disruptive behaviour, especially at the lower school, according to Ofsted inspector. Nick Whittaker.

Mrs McEvoy failed to make any response to requests for a comment on the situation.