Tributes to much-loved Wolverhampton headteacher after her sudden death

Pupils and education bosses have paid tribute to a much-loved head teacher of a Wolverhampton school who has passed away.

Jo Hemmings. Photo: Goldthorn Primary School
Jo Hemmings. Photo: Goldthorn Primary School

Jo Hemmings was praised for her work in improving the performance of Goldthorn Park primary school over the last year.

After joining the school in 2017 as assistant head teacher, Mrs Hemmings quickly rose to the role of head in September 2021, where she was fast to establish the premises as a pupil-focused learning centre, earning praise from Ofsted bosses.

Mrs Hemmings died suddenly in June after previously working to improve the school’s Ofsted rating, which she achieved in previous months.

Jo Hemmings, far right, celebrates a 'good' Ofsted report with Goldthorn Park Primary School earlier this year

Chief executive officer of the Elston Halls Community Trust, which manages the school, Kevin Grayson said: “What a year we’ve had at Goldthorn Park primary school – perhaps the most successful year in its history.

“Sadly, this has been overshadowed by the devastating loss of our head teacher Mrs Hemmings. Jo joined the school in 2017 and her drive and outstanding teaching saw her promoted to the role of head in September 2021.

“Mrs Hemmings death was an enormous shock to everyone in the school community. Staff and children were deeply saddened. Mrs Hemmings leaves a husband and son and soon to be a grandson.

“She had had been a teacher in a number of schools, notably Featherstone primary school where she began her teaching career, working alongside myself – Kevin Grayson – who now leads Elston Hall Learning Trust, of which Goldthorn Park is part of.

“Following the funeral a few weeks ago, the school has held a memorial service. All the children contributed with many songs and poems, and all school families were invited as so many of them wanted to offer their respects,” he added.

“We know that Mrs Hemmings, who was very much a child-centred teacher was instrumental in the recent success at Goldthorn Park.”

The school achieved a ‘good’ judgement in the Ofsted survey carried out in March this year. This was the first time the school had been ‘good’ since the beginning of Ofsted inspections.

Teachers and pupils at Goldthorn Park held a remembrance assembly to remember her on Thursday, which featured songs, dance, poems and bubbles.

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