'Inspirational' headteacher to retire from primary school in Milton Keynes

A headteacher described by Ofsted as inspirational is to retire at the end of this week.

Monday, 22nd March 2021, 5:41 pm
Updated Monday, 22nd March 2021, 6:18 pm

Mrs Phillipa Villa has been at the helm of Newton Leys Primary School since it opened five years ago, but her teaching career spans 20 years.

Since Newton Leys school opened, it has achieved countless accolades including, a glowing OFsted report, many outstanding Local Authority reviews and ongoing recognition for the schools partnership with its local community.

Ofsted described Mrs Villa’s leadership as “inspirational and effective”, saying: "She is persistent in her drive to improve all aspects of the school so that pupils have every opportunity to succeed.”

Headteacher Mrs Vere

The inspectors also stated: “Her energy and passion is infectious”.

Deputy head Mrs Amanda Matsangou said: "Everyone who visits the school, comments on the outstanding behaviour and attitudes of the children and more importantly, how happy they are to be at school...With such an exceptional career behind her, our school community feel that she deserves to be recognised publicly."

Mrs Matsangou added: "Mrs Villa is a dedicated, passionate and innovative Headteacher who accepts nothing but the very best for the children in her care. She is always the first member of staff in school and the last to leave. No-one enters the school without being greeted with her friendly welcome as she ‘mans’ the school gates every morning come rain or shine."

Mrs Villa's drive to create her vision of a school centred at the heart of a new, growing community in Newton Leys was evident from the moment the first brick was laid. She meticulously planned every detail of the school, from the colours of the carpet to the position of play equipment, to ensure it was a vibrant and inspiring place to grow and learn.

"Newton Leys Primary School is difficult to describe with words alone," said Mrs Matsangou. "It is the feeling you have when you are in the school, the sense of pride that all stakeholders share demonstrated by; the children rushing through the school gates in the morning as soon as the key hits the lock, not being able to contain their excitement.

"It is the staff smiling and laughing together as they motivate and support each other. The families who fill the hall to bursting at every school event. It's the open door to the head teachers office at any time of day (or early evening) ready to listen, and the sight of a smartly dressed head teacher with a hoover and cloth in hand, maintaining her high standards, which then resonate throughout the school."

She added: "Her love of the school, its community and everything it has achieved to date is undeniable, something that is evident every time she gives a speech and cannot help but become emotional. Her loyal staff, many of whom have previously worked with her throughout her diverse career in education, share an overwhelming sense of pride. They have subsequently fulfilled posts working with her again at Newton Leys Primary School.

"Her energy and passion is infectious and she is highly respected by the school community"(Ofsted 2019)

Mrs Villa is also known as the "star performer" at every school residential trip.

"It's Mrs Villa herself who actively encourages and participates alongside the children, jumping into muddy puddles, climbing those extra few steps out of her comfort zone and camping in sub-zero temperatures," said Mrs Matsangou.

"If you ask any child what they thought of her, you would be met with a barrage of adjectives including, kind, caring, intelligent, inspirational and sparkly," she added.