A HEAD teacher at a York primary school has stepped down from her role.

Catherine Precious, who took over the leadership post at Hempland Primary Academy in September 2019, has decided to leave 'for personal reasons'.

Lee Haynes, head teacher of Acomb Primary School, will become the interim executive head for both Hempland and Acomb from Monday, April 20.

Mrs Precious moved to Hempland in Heworth from Tang Hall Primary School where she had been head teacher since September 2013.

Her predecessor at Hempland, Zoe Lightfoot, had left the top post in March 2019, less than two years after being appointed.

She told parents in a letter at the time that she had, with some reluctance, decided to ‘seek future opportunities outside Pathfinder MAT’ - the multi-academy trust which runs the school.

The Press approached Mrs Precious, through the Trust, but she did not want to comment further.

Pathfinder’s executive head teacher, Andrew Daly said: “Mrs Precious has taken the decision to leave Pathfinder MAT for personal reasons. We would like to thank Mrs Precious for her dedication and commitment to our schools and the wider community. We wish her well in her future endeavours.”

When schools reopen fully, Mr Haynes will split his time between Hempland and Acomb.

Hempland’s deputy head teacher, Abbie Innes, will become head of school and have day-to-day responsibility when Mr Haynes is not in school.

Simon White will continue as head of school at Acomb.

Mr Haynes has been teaching for 23 years and has led Acomb Primary for 10 years, overseeing the successful expansion of the single-form entry school into an oversubscribed one-and-half form school in that time.

He has previously worked as an Ofsted inspector and is the primary strategic lead for Pathfinder MAT which Acomb Primary joined in 2018.

Under Mr Hayne's leadership at Acomb Primary, the school has become known for its strong curriculum including their pioneering work done on bringing Shakespeare to Primary Schools through partnerships with York Theatre Royal and performances at the RSC in Stratford.

Pathfinder’s central team have been working closely with Mrs Precious to ensure a full and comprehensive handover has taken place and will continue to offer support to the leadership team at Hempland moving forward.

Parents and staff at both schools have been informed of the changes.

Mr Daly added: “Mr Haynes and Mrs Innes with provide excellent leadership at Hempland to ensure the school continues to deliver an excellent education to all pupils. I can reassure parents, pupils and staff that the Trust has comprehensive plans in place and significant capacity to support Hempland at this time.”

Pathfinder Multi Academy Trust is an inclusive partnership of ten church and community schools serving more than 4,000 pupils and their families across York.