Headteacher at St Helens school where pupils scored record results but teachers complained of 'management intimidation' set to retire

Rainhill High's headteacher John Pout is stepping down after the Easter break
Rainhill High's headteacher John Pout is stepping down after the Easter break

The headteacher at Rainhill High, which has long been one of St Helens' best-performing but troubled schools, will step down after the Easter holidays.

John Pout will retire as head at Rainhill High, and from the teaching profession, on April 30.

His tenure at Rainhill has seen the school become widely-recognised for producing some of the region's best exam performances but has been marred by controversy, including a bitter and long-running dispute with teaching unions.

Current deputy Josie Thorogood has been appointed as Mr Pout's successor.

Why is Rainhill High's headteacher stepping down?

A spokesman for Rainhill High said: "John will be retiring from Rainhill and the teaching profession on April 30. Trustees have taken the decision to appoint current deputy Josie Thorogood as headteacher."

The Reporter understands Mr Pout will take up a post with Liverpool FC's safeguarding team after leaving Rainhill High.

Mr Pout formed close links with Liverpool FC during his time at Rainhill High, and the club has an education centre at the school where a number their academy players are educated.

Manchester City and England ace Raheem Sterling attended Rainhill during his days as a Liverpool youth player.

What controversies has Rainhill High's headteacher faced?

His time at Rainhill High has seen the school post outstanding exam results and was earlier this year named as the best performing secondary in St Helens and Knowsley.

However, his time has not been with difficulties.

Last year, it was revealed the school’s budget was projected to run a £1m deficit within the next two years - raising fears jobs could be put at risk.

Teachers at Rainhill High strike claiming 'management intimidation'

And in March 2017, teachers at the school also went on strike in a dispute over their treatment by the school’s senior leaders.

Members of the NASUWT walked out after the already-strained relationship between teaching staff and Mr Pout reached breaking point over what union officials described as “unacceptable management practices”.

At the time, Bevanie Robinson, NASUWT National Executive Member for Merseyside and Cheshire, said: “We sincerely hope that further strike action can be avoided and would implore the employer to agree to meet with us to discuss our members concerns.

“The NASUWT remains committed to seeking to resolve the issues under dispute, but will always act to support members who are being subjected to unacceptable practices and intimidation by management."

One person close to teaching staff at the school told The Reporter tensions had run high for several years and many parents did not know about the action. They added: “A large number of staff are striking so this will likely be disruptive to the year 11 students who are due to take exams soon. So far no parents have been informed.”

Months later, the school hit the headlines after a school newsletter issing an apology for publishing a newsletter featuring a pupil apparently making an Isis-style salute.

The offending picture features two male pupils, with one making the jihad gesture while draped in a Iranian flag.