KD head leaving for fresh challenge


NICOLA Nelson's biggest advice to her prospective replacement would be not to rock the boat.

Having announced last week that she will be leaving her role as King David Primary School headteacher after four-and-a-half-years, Nicola said her replacement will need to "isten to the staff.

She added: "Listen to the children and take things slowly.

"They will need to take into account all of the greats things there are about this school already.

"This school doesn't need any great changes.

"It just needs someone to come in and hold the ship steady - the staff here are amazing so listen to them and take advice before you start changing anything."

Nicola will be leaving at the end of the calendar year to take up a role as an executive director of education for a multi-academy trust in Bury.

Her decision to leave KD was borne out of the need for "a new challenge".

She continued: "I've always had a drive for new challenges. This is the second longest role I've had.

"I don't come from a privileged background and I've always had to fight for my education.

"I was the first from my school, and my family, to go to university - it was a drive to get out of my situation and better myself."

Nicola has "no regrets" about leaving KD.

She said: "I would have liked to have got the double 'outstanding' award as the Jewish education inspectors from Pikuach are coming to the school later in the year, but I know everyone will be fine.

"If I had any regrets, or if there was something I still wanted to achieve, I wouldn't be leaving.

"The biggest change that has been made in my time here is that we listen to the children a lot more.

"The children weren't always asked what they wanted for their school, everything was just done to them."

The running-enthusiast, who has a son with husband Rob, said that the children now have involvement in "many" decisions which impact upon them.

She continued: "We ask them what they enjoy in their lessons, what teaching styles work best and what topics they most want to learn about.

"There's also the softer side of school such as clubs, playtime, trips and rewards and what would make them behave well in class.

"I don't think these kind of things happened before I got here."

The reaction of her peers to the announcement of her leaving, Nicola added, has been one of "mixed emotions".

She said: "There was massive shock at first. I got a spontaneous round of applause in our staff briefing, which was touching.

"Some people who know me said that they thought I would leave after we got the 'outstanding' report from OFSTED, because they know I like a challenge.

"I've had a lot of touching messages from people and I always say that you don't really find out what people are like until you leave.

"There's also been some sadness and anger as well - life goes on and nobody is irreplaceable."

The Manchester Jewish community has been "absolutely brilliant" for Nicola, and she admitted it is something that both she and her husband will miss.

She added: "The support from the parents has been the best I have ever had.

"The parents care so much about the children. We joke sometimes about them being overly-demanding, but actually I prefer it.

"I've worked in schools where that hasn't been the case - the community support here has been phenomenal.

"I knew virtually nothing about the Jewish community before I was here and it has been life-changing.

"It has been warm, welcome and amazing and my husband and I will both miss it - especially the Shabbat dinner invites.

"I have never known such a warm and caring community."

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