Headteacher of Bedale High steps down following protest over toilet rule

Bedale High School. Picture: Google Maps
Bedale High School. Picture: Google Maps

The headteacher of Bedale High School has stepped down just weeks after some forty students protested over a rule which limited how often they could use the toilet.

The school near Ripon made national headlines after the demonstration saw police called to the scene and the whole school evacuated after the fire alarm was triggered.

The students were protesting over a rule which they said limited their use of a toilet to just two 20 minute breaks during the school day.

The school later said that access to the toilets was available at all times with students escorted to the facilities during lesson times, if they were required.

But now the Chair of governors has announced that the school, which was rated by Ofted as requiring improvement at the end of last year, will go forward with a new headteacher to ensure the school improves more rapidly.

Sian Rees, who has led Bedale for the last three years, spent her last day in school on Friday, March 31, and will officially leave her post on April 23.

She said: “Leading the team of staff at school has been a very unique and special experience, one that has brought huge challenges and some notable successes.

“I am proud that we opened the school to its primary partners and made links with other schools to introduce our staff to new ideas and practice, and that we have sustained high academic standards through very turbulent times.

“I wish Bedale High School and my successor much success and feel sure that with the continued support from the board of governors and the local authority the school, its students, parents and all members of the community will flourish.”

Tony Rawdin has been appointed as interim headteacher for the next 18 months until summer 2018.

North Yorkshire County Council said Mr Rawdin "brings a wealth of experience to the job" having led one of the country’s highest achieving schools, Norton College.

He will spend this week getting to know students and staff and the school’s priorities which he will address as a matter of urgency.

Tay Warren continues as interim deputy head and all other staff remain in post.

Gerry Price, Chair of governors at Bedale High School, thanked Mrs Rees for her hard work in leading the school through a period of turbulence and wished her well in the future.

In a letter to parents and carers he said: "The school’s staff and senior team are firmly focused upon ensuring that every one of our students gets a first rate education and achieves to their full potential."

Pete Dwyer, NYCC Corporate Director for the children and young people’s service said: “Bedale is in a position where the pace of improvement needs to be accelerated.

“We formed the view, in agreement with the headteacher, that there would be benefits to the school of a change in strategic leadership.

"We are confident that Mr Rawdin will provide that necessary strategic direction and that the school will move forward swiftly in raising achievement.”