THE first female headteacher in the 500-year history of a school foundation is due to leave her post after a year.

Jennie Phillips has only been in post for just over a year but is due to depart King's Hawford at the end of this term.

The move has caused sadness for parents who described her as an 'excellent teacher' who 'shone' in her role.


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We reported in April last year how Mrs Phillips took up the role at the prep school in Hawford, near Worcester, becoming the first woman in the school foundation’s 500-year history to occupy the position.

The award-winning school is for pupils aged between two and 11 and is part of a Foundation of three schools – King’s St Alban’s, King’s Hawford and King’s Worcester which dates back to 1541.

Relocating from Monmouth to Worcester, Mrs Phillips was joined in Worcester by her husband Eddie and daughters, Amelia and Daisy.

Like all heads at the school, the family live on-site at Hawford after she took over from retiring headteacher Jim Turner.

At the time she said: “We are so excited about this new stage in our lives and very much look forward to getting to know everyone and exploring our beautiful new surroundings.”

Headmaster of the King’s Foundation Gareth Doodes described her at the time as the 'outstanding candidate throughout the process' and 'a natural communicator and a passionate educator'.

He added: "Jennie is also the first female head in our foundation’s near 500-year history."

A 'concerned parent' contacted the Worcester News, describing Mrs Phillips as 'an excellent head' and expressing regret that she had handed in her notice.

Meanwhile, the parent, who declined to be identified, called for an investigation by governors.

The parent said: "The children, staff and parents are very supportive of her. We and other parents want to know why she has felt compelled to hand her notice in.

"We were delighted when Mrs Phillips was appointed as the first female King's Hawford Head and she has gone on to shine in that role.

"To find that she has handed in her notice so soon after her appointment makes us question how she has been supported."

A spokesman for the school said: "There is nothing to add to what parents have already been told, namely that Jennie Phillips is leaving at the end of this term and does so with our very best wishes for the future." 

Mrs Phillips and the school governors both responded to press enquiries.

However, both declined to comment officially on the departure or give any further details.