Newham’s school heads in class of their own

Newham’s head teachers have been thanked for all their hard work by Mayor Sir Robin Wales and Cllr Quintin Peppiatt, executive member for children and young people.

The event at the council’s Newham Dockside offices was also an opportunity to say farewell to seven head teachers who are moving on from the borough or retiring.

Cllr Peppiatt said: “Newham’s head teachers are vitally important and it’s great to see them being recognised. We also thank those valued colleagues who are moving on, celebrate the successes of our schools and thank everyone for their hard work over the past year in helping our young people achieve their potential.”

Together this year’s departing head teachers have a total of 121 years working in Newham and 99 years as heads in the borough.

Those leaving are:


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• Margaret Diane Walls – joined Oliver Thomas Nursery School in 1999 as head teacher. She is a longstanding passionate advocate for early years education in Newham.

• Sheryll Alexander – head teacher at Stratford’s Carpenters School since 2001 but has also worked at North Beckton Primary School and developed Newham’s Education Action Zone.

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• Martin Buck – head teacher at Lister Community School, Plaistow, since 2000 and saw the school throigh its successful Building Schools for the Future (BSF) improvements programme.

• Cauthar Tooley, head teacher at Stratford’s Sarah Bonnell School since 1999 but has worked there for 18 years.She also managed the school through a BSF programme.

• George Potrykus-Lupton – head teacher at Ronald Openshaw Nursery Education Centre, Stratford, for 12 years but has been in Newham for 18 years, previously at Oliver Thomas and St Stephen’s nursery schools. He has been recognised nationally for his work with the traveller community.

• Jane Johnson OBE – head teacher of St Stephen’s School and Children Centre, Upton Park, from 1983 but has worked in Newham for 38 years, including at Star, Shaftesbury and Nelson primary schools

• Tim Benson, head at Nelson School for 14 years. He has been praised for the outstanding development of music in the school.

Each departing head received a pen inscribed with their years of service.

Photo caption: (l-r) Cllr Peppiatt, Diann e Walls, Jane Johnson, Martin Buck, Sheryll Alexander and Sir Robin Wales, at the head teachers farewell.

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