THE head teacher of a York primary school has departed, less than two years after being appointed.

Hempland Primary Academy head Zoe Lightfoot said in a letter to parents that she had with some reluctance decided to ‘seek future opportunities outside Pathfinder MAT’ - the multi-academy trust which runs the school.

She said she had unfortunately been away from her post in the Heworth school over the last few weeks. “Whilst this has been due to personal circumstances beyond my control, it has given me a period to consider my role at Hempland and also the opportunities and ambitions the future could bring,” she said.

She revealed that during this absence, she had taken the time to discuss her plans with friends, family and colleagues and made her decision.

She said she was grateful to children, parents, staff and all involved with the school for making her time there ‘most memorable’.

She added: “I would like to say a huge thank you to all the children and families at Hempland for their wonderful investment and assistance in all we have worked together to accomplish.

“I wish all of our Hempland family every success in their future endeavours and I look forward to hearing about the positives of Hempland’s ongoing journey.”

Andrew Daly, executive head teacher of the trust, told The Press: “I would like to thank Ms Lightfoot for the contributions she has made not only to Hempland but also the wider academy trust and wish her all the best for the future.”

He said in a letter to Hempland parents and carers that during her absence, the two deputy head teachers, Abigail Innes and Jo Kemp, had, with the support of a senior leader from the trust, provided strong interim leadership.

“This has ensured that on a day-to-day basis, Hempland continues to be a place where children are safe, happy and enjoy their learning.”

He said the interim leadership would continue for the rest of the school year, with support from himself and the trust’s head of primary education, and they would ensure the school and its pupils continue to thrive.

“This leadership team will provide stability for the school whilst a new headteacher is recruited ready for September,” he added.

Ms Lightfoot was appointed at Hempland in summer 2017 after having steered Haxby Road Primary Academy around from ‘special measures’ to a ‘good’ rating by Ofsted. She had previously been deputy head at St George’s RC Primary School in Fishergate. Her appointment at Hempland came after two national recruitment campaigns.