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Highly-experienced new head teacher for specialist autism school Portfield in Parley

DRIVING academic attainment is one of the main priorities for the new head teacher taking control of a specialist autism school in Parley.

Gina Wagland has joined Portfield School from an independent school for children with social, emotional and mental health needs in Cornwall.

Portfield is operated by leading charity Autism Unlimited, which supports autistic students aged four to 19 there, along with two sixth form sites in Christchurch.

Gina Wagland is the new head teacher at Portfield School
Gina Wagland is the new head teacher at Portfield School

Mrs Wagland, a highly experienced educator and trained counsellor, shared her excitement at leading the school.

“Portfield School has an excellent track record in positively supporting autistic students,” she said.

“There is huge commitment to the school from the charity as a whole and the community.

“Staff are really passionate about getting it right for the students, and the children are happy and proud to be here.”

Therapies for students ranging from art and music to dance were among Portfield’s features highlighted by Mrs Wagland.

She added: “On a personal note, one of my two grown-up children was diagnosed with autism six months ago and this has only deepened my personal mission to support the success of autistic people in all ways possible.”

Welcoming her appointment, Siún Cranny, chief executive of Autism Unlimited, praised the “talented and welcoming” senior team she would be working with.

She said: “We have a busy and exciting year of development ahead for 2023 and Gina will have lots of opportunity to shape the future of our school.

“I look forward to working in partnership with her.”

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