New head with passion for small schools to introduce school puppy
PUBLISHED: 16:00 14 January 2019 | UPDATED: 16:53 14 January 2019
The new head teacher of two primary schools may be barking up the right tree by introducing a puppy to delighted pupils in his first week.
Mark Carlyle, formerly head teacher of St Peter and St Paul School in Eye, began working at Burston and Tivetshall Primary Schools on January 1.
The Rickinghall 45-year-old is making a memorable first impression by bringing in his labradoodle puppy Waffle as a new school dog.
Mr Carlyle, who was also previously head of Scole primary, said: “I think the staff, children, and wider community will really benefit from this, it’s very important in terms of emotional wellbeing.
“School dogs are becoming increasingly common and there are statistics that show how beneficial it is being around animals. My wife and I partly chose that breed because they have such fantastic temperaments. I think she will be a really positive contribution to the community.”
Steven Ginn replaced Mr Carlyle as head at St Peter and St Paul Church of England Primary School in Eye and will oversee the learning and teaching of 200 pupils.
Mr Carlyle said: “It’s going really well. People have been incredibly welcoming and friendly. I couldn’t have asked for a warmer welcome.
“I have a passion for small schools, I think they are an important part of rural communities. The opportunity to be head of two small schools was too good to miss.”
The father-of-four said one of the biggest changes during his time as head teacher in Eye was the setting up of a multi-academy trust last year, the All Saints Schools Trust, accumulating eight small primary schools by September 2018.
Burston Primary School has around 40 children in attendance, and Tivetshall has just 20.
Mr Carlyle said: “One of the likely development points for me will be to help grow the schools and make people aware of the fantastic things that go on.
“Small schools present certain challenges but also certain advantages as well. “
He hopes to spend two-and-a-half days per week in either school. He said: “Most of what I’m doing at the moment is based around getting to know people so I’m going in between the schools a lot right now, but probably from next week I’ll have a more predictable schedule.”