Head leaves school after two-days notice

ONE of the largest primary schools in Ipswich was plunged into crisis when its head retired with just two days notice.Shelagh Cohen took early retirement from Handford Hall School at Easter – but did not tell staff, parents, or governors until two days before the end of term.

ONE of the largest primary schools in Ipswich was plunged into crisis when its head retired with just two days notice.

Shelagh Cohen took early retirement from Handford Hall School at Easter – but did not tell staff, parents, or governors until two days before the end of term.

Her sudden decision forced Suffolk County Council to move in an acting head from another Ipswich school who will be running Handford Hall until July.

Richard Cove, head of Clifford Road Primary, is running the school while governors start the process of appointing a new head.


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"Mrs Cohen's move came as a shock to everyone connected with the school – and there was a real sense of crisis at the school," he said.

"She was always based in London and had a flat in Ipswich that she used during the week. I understand she has moved back to London full-time and cut all contact with the school."

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Mrs Cohen had been head of Handford Hall for six years.

"No one at the school knows the reason for her sudden departure," he added.

Mr Cove was asked to take over the school temporarily because he has long experience of working in multi-cultural environments and he has been a headteacher in Ipswich for 16 years.

Handford Hall has 316 pupils aged between three and 11, including 50 in its nursery department.

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