THE new acting headteacher of one of East Lancashire’s oldest schools has said her appointment is a ‘significant moment’ in its history.

Claire Gammon will take over from Simon Corns at Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School (QEGS) in the new year after his departure to the Middle East.


Mrs Gammon, a deputy headteacher with responsibilities in data, reporting and staff welfare, with a background in maths teaching, will be in place for up to five terms.

Mr Corns has taken up a new role as headteacher of Brighton College in Abu Dhabi.

The recruitment process to find his permanent replacement ended without success earlier this year and Mrs Gammon was handed the role before a re-run in the coming months.

Originally from Wigan, Mrs Gammon, who now lives in Leyland, worked at Liverpool College before joining QEGS as a maths teacher 15 years ago.

She said: “I love working at the school. When I first started I thought I would stay for three years but there is something about QEGS that gets into your blood.

“It is the friendliness and the staff are superb, not just academically but they have this care for the children and genuinely want them to make progress and gain good grades.

“I am really pleased that the staff, the parents and pupils are so supportive (of my appointment). It has been overwhelming.”

Mrs Gammon, 39, is the first woman to be appointed to the role of acting-head or head in the school’s 507 years.

“It is a really significant moment in the school’s history,” she said.

“It should not be, but it is and that is what the children are really proud of.

“There has never been a female in charge before and they are happy and looking forward to it.”

To ensure she can still spend time with pupils, she will be doing extra-curricular activities as well as covering lessons.

“If you want to know about a school you have to spend time with the pupils so that is what I intend to do.

“It is a privilege to actually help young people through this stage of their lives. There is no day in teaching that is the same.

“Every single day there will be someone who makes you smile and it will come out of nowhere. That’s what makes you want to become a teacher.”

One focus for Mrs Gammon will be increasing pupil numbers, particularly in the sixth form.

“We still have capacity to increase by at least another 100 children mainly in the sixth form. I think it is achievable.

“It is also important to maintain our high standards of pastoral care and academic performance.

“Going through our free school years with the full ability range will have an effect on our external results.

“We will get to a stage where we cannot compare these years with previous years, although we will continue to have excellent attainment.

“I would like the school to be known for having excellent progress figures. Progress 8 and attainment is what schools should be focusing on.”

There are other challenges at a time when the education system is in flux with changes to the way pupils are assessed at Key Stage One and two as well as a new grading system at GCSE and reforms to A-levels.

“At every stage it is difficult. Where some schools are dealing with one or two key stages we are dealing with them all,” she said.

“Our big challenge is to make sure we make that transition and prepare our children well and reassure parents.”

To relax the mum-of-one and stepmum-of-two, whose 11-year-old son is a pupil at QEGS, enjoys spending time with her family as taking her new Labradoodle Chewbacca on walks.

Despite some of the challenges Mrs Gammon said she is ready to hit the ground running.

“I am already part of the school. I have an advantage that you would not normally get. If you come in externally you spend the first two terms finding your feet but I know what to focus on. It’s a feeling of excitement.”