All Saints' Academy principal Peter Kingham quits
ALL Saints' Academy in Cheltenham has been left reeling after headteacher Peter Kingham announced he was stepping down amid health concerns.
The 56-year-old, who was hired to lead the Hester's Way academy when it opened in September 2011, made the shock announcement yesterday.
He said the decision to leave mid-term was linked to the high pressures of the job, citing unhappiness at having to live far away from his family in Coventry. News of his departure was announced in a hurriedly-prepared letter to parents, who reacted with shock.
One said: "I'm very surprised to hear he is stepping down. The timing of the announcement is a shock.
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"We are only a few weeks into the term."
Mr Kingham will be released from his role as principal on October 31.
Academic vice-principal Steve Powell will take over the reins as acting principal as the search for a permanent candidate begins.
In a statement to staff, Mr Kingham said the pressures of the job had grown too much.
"Many of you will be aware that my working life over the past three years has been incredibly busy with setting up All Saints' Academy and leading the academy through the first two years," he said.
"One of the pressures I have faced is a significant commute from my home near Coventry.
"As a result, I have lived away from my home, working here in Cheltenham during the week. This has unfortunately become an unsatisfactory situation for me and my family.
"The time has come to prioritise my family and my health and therefore, as a result of a great deal of thought and reflection, it is with regret that I have decided to step down as principal."
In the emotionally-worded statement, he voiced regret at departing mid-term – leaving the job of getting the school to achieve an outstanding Ofsted status unfinished.
He added: "It has been a privilege to work with you and to lead All Saints' Academy.
"It will remain a highlight of my career."
Anthony McClaran, the chairman of governors, led the tributes to the work achieved by Mr Kingham during his short tenure.
He said: "We thank Peter for the outstanding contribution he has made as All Saints' founding principal, seeing the academy through from its planning and building to the excellent set of results which were achieved this summer."
Pupils said rumours had been circulating over Mr Kingham's future at the school for several days.
One youngster said: "We will be sorry to see him go.
"He is a good headteacher and a popular figure around the school."