Head leaves as row goes on over excluded pupils

Head June Kershaw is leaving
Head June Kershaw is leaving
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THE headteacher of a school where parents are battling plans for a centre for excluded pupils has announced she is to quit.

June Kershaw, head of Woodcot Primary in Gosport, sent a letter to parents telling them she would be leaving at the end of the spring term to take on an executive headship of three infant and junior schools in Surrey.

But parents who are opposing plans to build a £4m centre for problem youngsters on the school site have accused her of ‘dumping a problem on the school and walking away’.

The move would see Quayside Education Centre, currently at St Vincent College, Gosport, move to a newly-built centre at Woodcot.

Mrs Kershaw insists the unit would not have a detrimental impact on the school, which has improved dramatically under her leadership.

Vicki Cuff, a former parent governor whose eight-year-old daughter Rachel attends Woodcot, said: ‘I’m appalled she’s leaving us at this time.

‘This unit is for excluded students – and schools don’t exclude easily these days.

‘The issue for me is the safety of the children, with the potential for substance abuse, smoking and bad language going on next door.

‘When children as young as two are exposed to this behaviour day in day out, they will think it’s normal.’

Karen Headley, 44, who has two daughters at the school, said: ‘I’m disgusted Mrs Kershaw’s leaving.

‘She’s dumped this problem on the school and then walked away.

‘These plans will have huge consequences for the school.

‘We’re constantly being told there’s nothing to worry about, but no-one can guarantee our children’s safety.’

Five pupils have already been pulled out from the school as a result of the plans, which will seek final approval from the county’s regulatory committee on March 21.

But Mrs Kershaw said the same number had since applied to join the school.

She said: ‘It’s ridiculous to say I don’t care about the children.

‘I’ve given six years of my life to this school and they mean the world to me, but it doesn’t mean to say I need to be here forever.

‘I firmly believe we have a duty to provide for all children in Gosport.’

She added: ‘The centre will be next door to the school – we are selling a piece of our land. It will be completely secure.’

Marion Clist, head at Alverstoke Infants, will stand in as interim head.