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Shock arrest of Cliffe Woods Primary School’s high-flying Gillingham head teacher Tim Watson

By Jade Edwards

A head teacher who was nominated for a schools champion award has been arrested on suspicion of possessing indecent images of children.

Tim Watson, 54, is on personal leave from Cliffe Woods Primary School in View Road. It is understood he has been away since Easter.

Parents were sent a letter on Thursday, May 21, which said that the head had taken a leave of absence from school for personal reasons “until further notice”.

Tim Watson has been charged.
Tim Watson has been charged.

A police spokesman said: “A 54-year-old man from Gillingham was arrested on suspicion of possessing indecent images of children on April 20 and bailed pending further inquiries until August 6.”

"I hope this letter reassures you that the school has acted swiftly to ensure it will continued to run exactly as it should" - letter to parents from governor Dianne Foreman

The letter to parents, from chairman of the governors Dianne Foreman, also said that the school would be appointing an interim head of school and an interim deputy head from within the existing staff.

After a discussion between the school governors and the chairman of The Williamson Trust, Gary Vyse, head teacher at the Hundred of Hoo has been commissioned, with Lucy Davenport, primary lead for the trust, to support Cliffe Woods in the selection process.

Mrs Foreman wrote: “I hope this letter reassures you that the school has acted swiftly to ensure it will continued to run exactly as it should. The safety, happiness and education of your children is at the heart of all we do.”

Executive principal of the Williamson Trust Dr Gary Holden said that Mr Watson was away from school due to personal reasons. He refused to discuss the matter further.

Mr Watson’s name last appeared on the school’s monthly newsletter on March 2.

The school, which has 336 pupils aged four to 11, was rated outstanding in a recent Ofsted inspection. Mr Watson was described in the report as “an inspirational leader”.

It said that “the outstanding head teacher is highly ambitious” and that “pupils feel very safe” at the school.

Cliffe Woods Primary School
Cliffe Woods Primary School

Mr Watson became head teacher in 2006 and the school was granted academy status in July 2011, He was nominated for a Pride in Medway Award in 2012 by a young girl who had moved to the school after being bullied at another primary school.

At the time of his nomination, Mr Watson said: “We believe that in order to succeed children really need to want to come to school, to feel safe and happy.”

When approached at his home, Mr Watson said: “I don’t know what you are talking about.”


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