Troubled school looks for new head

A SCHOOL which has been rocked over the past year by a paedophile scandal is now hoping to move on and interview for a new headteacher by March.

Former Hillside First School teacher Nigel Leat was jailed indefinitely last June after it was discovered he filmed himself abusing his six and seven-year-old pupils in his classroom.

In the wake of the court case, headteacher Chris Hood was sacked, not for any criminal behaviour but for his part in ignoring a catalogue of warnings about serial abuser Leat, who worked at the Church Road site in Worle for 15 years.

But now the school, which is set to take on primary status this year, is looking for a new headteacher.

The new recruit will hopefully be in place by September and interviews are set to take place on March 21 and 22.

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Parents have praised temporary headteacher David Amos, who was brought into the school after Mr Hood was suspended in January 2011.

But he only stands in to help schools in crisis, before moving on and making way for permanent replacements.

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North Somerset Council is offering a new Hillside headteacher a starting wage of between �48,024-55,553 for the full-time role.

The authority’s recruitment advert says: “We can offer a school with a strong, caring ethos, children who are motivated, well-behaved and eager to learn, a very supportive team of staff and governors and excellent support from parents and the local community.

“Hillside First School is committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of all its children and expects all staff and volunteers to share this commitment.”

Last week the Mercury revealed how Leat could have been caught 14 years earlier if 30 warning signs at the school where he taught had not been ignored.

A serious case review carried out at the Church Road site over the past six months revealed there were 30 different complaints made to senior teachers about Leat’s behaviour towards pupils.

But although concerns were first raised back in 1996, Leat remained free to sexually abuse his pupils for another 14 years before he was finally arrested in 2010.

Authorities accept Leat acted alone, and the 51-year-old was put behind bars in June at Bristol Crown Court for 34 different charges relating to abuse of pupils in his care.

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