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Ashford Prep School head teacher Penny Willetts suddenly steps down

A head teacher who has led a private school for three years has suddenly stepped down.

Penny Willetts has made the "difficult decision" to leave Ashford Prep School in what has been described as a "mutual agreement" between herself and the management.

Penny Willetts has left Ashford Prep School
Penny Willetts has left Ashford Prep School

Staff were informed of her sudden departure in a meeting at 10am yesterday, and were reportedly told not to ask why she has left.

It is not yet understood why she has left the school, which educates children aged three to 11 years old from its site in Great Chart.

Deputy head teachers Chris Neesham and Rosie Clifford have been appointed as acting head teachers while a replacement is found.

In a statement, headmaster Michael Hall, who also oversees the senior Ashford School in East Hill, said: "Mrs Penny Willetts, head of Ashford Prep School has made the difficult decision to leave the school by mutual agreement and with immediate effect.

Ashford Prep School in Great Chart
Ashford Prep School in Great Chart

"We would like to thank her for her 15 years committed and loyal service and for her part in making the school what it is today.

"In the initial interim period, Chris Neesham, deputy head (pastoral) and Rosie Clifford, deputy head (academic) will take on the joint responsibility as acting head teachers."

Further announcements are expected to be made in due course.

Mrs Willetts originally trained in Sydney, Australia, as a PE teacher, before moving to England and securing her first teaching job at a small school in the centre of London.

She studied for her Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) and began teaching a Year 2 class at Ashford Prep School, where her two children were educated.

School fees at Ashford Prep start at £3,500 per term for children in Reception, Year 1 and 2.

Prices go up to £5,000 for pupils in Year 3, 4, 5 and 6.

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