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Increasing house prices in Newham forces headteacher to relocate to Liverpool

PUBLISHED: 15:58 01 May 2019 | UPDATED: 16:00 01 May 2019

Retiring St Bonaventure's headteacher Paul Halliwell with Stephen Abdul, who was one of the school's top A-level achievers last year. Pic: ST BONAVENTURE'S

Retiring St Bonaventure's headteacher Paul Halliwell with Stephen Abdul, who was one of the school's top A-level achievers last year. Pic: ST BONAVENTURE'S

Archant

A popular headteacher of a Newham school says unaffordable house prices in the borough led to his "tough decision" to resign.

St Bonaventure's headteacher Paul Halliwell with Canon Bob Hamil and Councillor David Christie at the celebration of the school's 140th anniversary in 2017. Picture: St Bonaventure's.St Bonaventure's headteacher Paul Halliwell with Canon Bob Hamil and Councillor David Christie at the celebration of the school's 140th anniversary in 2017. Picture: St Bonaventure's.

St Bonaventure's head Paul Halliwell will leave the Forest Gate school after nine years to begin a new role in his home city of Liverpool in September.

The father of two and his family moved from Merseyside when Mr Halliwell became headteacher at St Bon's in September 2010, but will soon return after he accepted the same position at St Francis Xavier's College in Woolton.

Mr Halliwell, who has sent a letter to parents informing them of his decision, said his time at St Bon's had been “much more than a job” and his departure was not expected or planned.

“Moving away will be very difficult,” Mr Halliwell said.

“As excited as I am to take on a new challenge I would not have considered a move if continuing to live in Newham was a possibility.

“The rents for a family house are too high and I am unable to secure a suitable mortgage, even on a headteacher's salary.

“The housing situation in Newham since 2012 has been ridiculous and it causes unbelieveable stress for all families.

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“Housing is the number one concern of all parents that I deal with and this does not look like it's going to change.”

The latest data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) shows that the average property in the borough sold for £357,612 – significantly higher than the UK average of £228,147

Mr Halliwell said he has loved being a part of the school, Newham and wider Catholic communities and was sad to be leaving London.

His family have been living nearby the 'outstanding' Ofsted-rated St Bon', where his son is a pupil and his wife Di has also worked.

Mr Halliwell believed the school is “a very strong position” as he prepares to leave.

“Our finances are very healthy, which not every school in England is fortunate enough to be able to say,” he said.

“Outcomes for the students are showing good progress, our boys in Year 11 are outperforming boys across the country and we are building upon the excellence of our primary schools.

“Most importantly, the staff are the best in the world, they care passionately about the students and they are exceptionally well-led by an exemplary leadership team.”

He hopes to provide stability and drive progress at SFX, which has been assessed as requiring improvement in its past two Ofsted inspections.

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