A Milton Keynes primary school headteacher has resigned with “great sadness” because she disagrees with the government’s unrealistic expectations of children.
In a poignant letter to parents, Sally Ahmad, 44, who has worked at Tickford Park Primary School in Newport Pagnell for eight years and been head for three of them, described how schools are forced to focus solely on progress and attainment rather than nuturing the “whole child”.
She wrote: “I want children to have thoroughly enjoyed their time at school – to have created amazing memories, acquired lifelong skills, made positive friendships, developed a love of all learning and be well on their way to be a valued member of society.
“How can I lead a school when I do not agree with what is being ‘forced’ upon us?”
Mrs Ahmad said the government’s league tables, statutory expectations, enforcements, and budget cuts have all served to change a child’s experience of primary school.
“Happy, secure, well behaved and keen to learn children no longer seem important, which in a day and age where we have never been more concerned about the wellbeing and mental health of our children is, in my opinion, unforgiveable,” she wrote.
She added: “Leaving the children is what has made my decision so difficult – their smiles, hugs, warm greetings, jokes, questions and laughter are what I look forward to each day and what I will miss the most.”
Support for Mrs Ahmad, who dreamed of being a teacher since she was 11, has flooded in from Tickford Park parents on social media.
“This is the swan song of many a teacher... Very sad news indeed,” wrote one.
Others admitted the letter - WHICH YOU CAN READ IN FULL HERE - had made them cry and thanked Mrs Ahmad for making their children so happy at school.
Tickford Park’s recent Ofsted inspection condemned the school as “requiring improvement” in four out of six categories.
However, the children’s behaviour, happiness and enthusiasm to learn was praised.
The school’s ethos is to promote “happiness, excitement and achievement”. Recent activities include a visit from a spring lamb, a Beatrix Potter day and a production of Mary Poppins.
Mrs Ahmad has no new job to go to. She says she is hoping to continue working with children “ whilst continuing to strive to make a difference.”
She plans to stay at the school until the summer term and has urged parents to reassure their children that her resignation is not their fault.