A brave start

WELL, would you do it? Would you move from the headship of an academically outstanding girls' independent school in an affluent London suburb to a Fresh Start secondary back in special measures and surrounded by high deprivation and low employment?

The decision of Dr Jill Clough to leave Wimbledon high school for East Brighton College of Media Arts will be the talk of many staffrooms today. Many will wonder why on earth she is putting herself through the pain of trying to turn around a school on its third name - and now its third permanent head - since the mid-990s.

But many more will empathise with her desire for challenge and to put her talents to good use. "I'm really excited to be getting into the heart of what education is all about... I passionately believe no child is a useless child," she explained. Good for her. And good for East Brighton's pupils and parents, who must already feel heartened that someone like Dr Clough is willing to chance her career on them.

Anyone who takes on such a potentially poisoned chalice deserves congratulations - and every bit of support the rest of us can provide.


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