Saturday, July 13, 2024

Horndon Headteacher first casualty of new school year

THE HEADTEACHER of Horndon-on-the-Hill primary school has become the first managerial casualty of the new school year.

The school has been in a state of near crisis for a number of years. The last Ofsted in 2010, labelled the school as “Satisfactory”. A grade that the government would now consider “failing.”

The report shocked a number of parents set in the affluent village, a school which parents from far and wide are desperate to place their children.

One parent (who did not wish to be named) removed their child from the school due to what they considered was a lack of progress.

They said: “I pulled my child earlier this year. They started off above average on test results but each year they hardly moved up a level until they were below average at key stage one SATS.

“When going to her drop-in sessions, two weeks would go by and only one session of basic maths had been taught. I know many parents share my concerns.”

However, there appears to have been concerns that the school could be heading towards another underwhelming Ofsted.

Negotiations were on-going at the end of the term but it appears that an advert for the vacant job is just about to be published.

YT attempted to contact the school but they failed to respond.


  1. Wow…and before the first Premiership manager casualty!

    ‘Joe Public’ won’t understand! Well teachers start at 9am and finsh at 3pm…and have all though those holidays don’t they!

    God bless you Susan…good luck in the future!

  2. For purposes of clarification, can I make several points. Firstly, Sue Hughes’ departure was announced last term, this is not a sudden happening at the start of term. Sue has given many years excellent service to Horndon on the Hill CoE Primary and is much loved by pupils past and present and highly respected and appreciated by the board of governors.
    No-one on the school governing board, nor Sue herself, would not acknowledge that the school has had issues in terms of an Ofsted grading that was disappointing, but it was not damning either. The school has an improvement programme that is in place and the most recent set of results reflected an improvement. That process is ongoing and is being achieved in consultation with our LEA, Thurrock Council.
    Over the past couple of years, after more than 35 years of unbroken service in education, Sue indicated that she would be considering leaving the school to spend more time with her husband who has retired. They have now planned a lengthy overseas trip next year so Sue felt it was time to go. However, to ensure a smooth transition, she will be in post until the end of this term.
    The Governors accepted the decision, which was entirely Sue’s, at the end of last term and through the summer have started the recruitment process, the next step of which is the placing of an advertisement this week. The process of selection will be ongoing through October, at the end of which we hope to appoint a new head to start after Christmas or possibly next Easter, depending on the availability of the best candidate.
    To suggest the school is in crisis or there have been sudden, unexpected developments, is inaccurate and unfair and reflects a negativity about our school which does not exist. The phrase “managerial casualty” is also extremely unfair to Sue Hughes.
    Neil Speight, Chair of Governors.

  3. As a parent of a child at the school, I would like to thank Neil Speight, Chair of Governors, for clarification. It was a shock to read this article, as I had seen Sue Hughes at the school all week and wondered had something happened after school had finished on Friday. The original article suggested that parents and staff turned up at the start of term to find that Sue Hughes had left which was not the case. We were informed at the end of the summer term that she was going to retire at Christmas.

  4. This year 3 ex puplis of Horndon-on-the-Hill Primary (who have just entered Year 11 of their senior schools) have become Head Girls and Head Boy. Achievements like this are pretty common for ex Horndon pupils. It should be recognised that this is a huge accomplishment not only for the children, but the primary school that instilled such high values in them. Well done to Mrs Hughes and her staff.

  5. Jasmine,

    I hear your sentiments, but alas Ofsted don’t give a fourpenny dam about such like!

    “Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts!” (Einstein)

  6. Its a shame when the one parent concerned (who did not wish to be named) can remain that way but the head teacher who has given many years to the school is mentioned in this way, A cheap shot from just 1 parent.

  7. Well said Jasmine and Christony, I couldn’t agree with you more! It is just disgraceful that one dissatisfied parent, (who doesn’t even have enough courage to be named and isn’t even a parent at Horndon School anymore), can drag the name of a long serving and dedicated Headteacher, through the mud!
    Sue Hughes is a hard-working Headteacher who has committed herself to this lovely village school for more than 10 years. I worked closely with Sue for over six years and I was her Deputy for two of those years. She cares deeply for the children at Horndon and ensures that all decisions are based on the children’s best interest.
    Horndon-on-the-Hill Primary School is a very special place where children are cared for and they are given strong values and varied experiences that prepare them for life! If “Your Thurrock”, took the time to read the most recent Ofsted report instead of indulging in cheap shot journalism, they would have read, that even though Horndon received an overall judgement of satisfactory, they received seven “good” gradings for a number of significant categories such as safeguarding, behaviour and care,guidance and support. Also these were the results of the parent’s survey –
    • 90% of parents agreed and strongly agreed that teaching was good
    • 84% of parents agreed and strongly agreed that the school was led & managed effectively
    • 84% of parents agreed and strongly agreed that the school met their child’s needs!
    Sue Hughes has always looked forward to her retirement and my hope is, that the Governors and particularly the parents, give her the support that she deserves and to help ensure that her last term at Horndon School is a positive and memorable one!

    Mrs Karen Gibbons
    Past Deputy Headteacher of Horndon-on-the-Hill Primary School


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