THE HEAD teacher of Teignmouth Community School has suddenly resigned with immediate effect, parents have been told.

James O’Connell, who joined the school three years ago, has quit the role just two weeks after sending out a headteacher’s newsletter outlining progress.

Executive head of the Estuaries Multi Academy Trust Paul Cornish has been seconded to take over running the school temporarily until a new head can be appointed.

The announcement was made to parents on Monday.

Katie Quinn, CEO of the Osprey Learning Trust of which the school is a member, confirmed a letter had been sent to parents informing them of Mr O’Connell’s departure.

She said he had taken the decision to leave his post and the trustees had agreed to allow him to go with ‘immediate effect’.

She said: ‘James feels that now is the right time to further his career in a different educational setting and to hand the school over to someone else to lead the next stages of school improvement.

‘In respect of our plans moving forward, the leadership of the school, we are fortunate that our already existing collaboration with Estuaries MAT means we have the capacity in the immediate and short term to cover the headship.

‘We are incredibly grateful to Mr Cornish and the trustees of Estuaries MAT for providing this support and we expect this will develop our already growing relationship between the two trusts.

‘The board of trustees and governors are confident that the school will benefit hugely from Mr Cornish’s successful experience of secondary school leadership.’

Mr O’Connell was appointed head in January 2019 and had led the school through the Covid pandemic while beginning a programme of improvement.

But his departure was said to be to hand the school over to someone else to ‘lead the next stages’.

Parents were reassured that there are plans for a permanent replacement.

Just two weeks ago on January 23, Mr O’Connell had published a letter on the school’s website detailing updates on the Omicron Covid variant measures and staff absence, forthcoming events and projects as well as on the school’s planned merger.

He had previously backed the merger to link with two other secondary schools, Dawlish and Newton Abbot College.