Sadly-missed deputy head is a ‘big part’ of school’s Ofsted pride

HAPPY TIMES Sue Miness, left, with Francesca Wade-Palmer during their school's 'Tudor Banquet' in March
HAPPY TIMES Sue Miness, left, with Francesca Wade-Palmer during their school's 'Tudor Banquet' in March

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A DEPUTY headteacher who died a week before an excellent Ofsted inspection has been hailed a major part of her school’s success.

Sue Miness, of Rowlands Castle St John’s CoE Primary, lost her battle with bone cancer at the age of 46.

She left behind a school going from strength to strength after it went from ‘satisfactory’ at its 2007 inspection to ‘good’ this year.

Headteacher Kay Pennicotte-Henrie said: ‘Sue would have been absolutely delighted with the Ofsted result.

‘We were all so sorry she couldn’t have been there to show the inspectors how much progress we had made. She was a big part of our success. Sue was passionate about this school and she wanted it to be outstanding. Her sons were pupils here and she lived in the village. This was her community and it meant a lot to her.

‘Sue’s death put the Ofsted inspection in perspective and she will be greatly missed by all of us.

‘She was an important part of our team and she’s left a legacy to be proud of.’

Debbie Cornish, extended schools manager, paid tribute to a ‘strong and inspirational’ woman who continued to come into work until the very end.

She said: ‘Sue’s death is unbelievably sad for all of us. She was diagnosed with breast cancer many years ago but was in remission. When she was diagnosed a second time it was devastating.

‘Sue loved St John’s – when she came for interview she said being at St John’s was all she ever wanted.

‘She gave so much to this school and her love of the outdoors meant she pushed really hard to secure a lot of excellent trips for the pupils.

‘Even when she was very unwell she never let on and she came in whenever she wasn’t due for a hospital appointment.

‘Sue said being with the children kept her going. We will miss her so much and as we work towards being an outstanding school she will always be in our hearts and minds.’

The Ofsted report praised above average pupil attainment, high staff morale, good and sometimes outstanding teaching and the head’s vision for continued improvement.

It applauded a good range of extra-curricular activities and excellent links to the community.

Mrs Miness died on June 1, and her funeral was held at St John’s Church, Rowlands Castle, on June 30, where a recording of songs made by current pupils was played.

Youngsters had the chance to pay their respects at a school memorial service where Chinese lanterns were released outdoors.

Before she died, Mrs Miness requested no flowers at her funeral – but instead donations to the Parent Teacher Association will help fund an adventure playground.

To give money email or call (023) 9241 2095.

Mrs Miness leaves behind sons Jack, 15, and Billy, 17, and husband Kevin.