After the sudden departure of a headteacher today, it has emerged that she handed over responsibilities in the middle of last month due to "a migraine".

It was announced today via ParentMail, the school's electronic communications system, that Sarah Mackintosh has left Rosebery School, in White Horse Drive, Epsom.

But the Epsom Guardian has learned that on March 14 deputy headteacher Ros Allen, who is now acting headteacher, sent out a letter to parents and carers.

She wrote: "It is with regret that I write to inform you that Mrs Mackintosh is not well and we do not know when she will be well enough to return.

"In her absence, I will be assuming her responsibilities and, therefore, any communications that you would usually send to her will be directed to me."

She added: "We would like to reassure parents that the leadership team will ensure the continued smooth running of all aspects of school life and, as ever, we thank you for your support."

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Sarah Mackintosh

John Mitchell, vice-chair of governors, told the newspaper this afternoon that this had only happened because Mrs Mackintosh was suffering from a migraine.

He said: "She had a severe migraine. Otherwise her record of health was extremely good."

He insisted that she had continued to run the school until today, adding: "I think everybody is surprised. The school has gone from strength to strength over the years.

"She got us into the top 100 schools in the country for the last two years, which was some achievement. She wants to move on in her career."

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Ros Allen

When asked about rumours that the school had faced budgetary problems, he said: "There have been no issues at all. There is a perfectly clean record."

Looking to the future, he said: "The school will carry on getting better and better. It’s a fantastic school with fantastic results."

In a letter to parents today, John Strutt, chair of governors, said there will be an opportunity for them to meet Ms Allen and governors next term.

Epsom Councillor Julie Morris, who represents College ward, said: "I’m surprised.

"The word that has come back to me is that she has been a very good head and people I know with girls at Rosebery are very happy with the school.

"A change of headteacher at any time is obviously unsettling for the pupils and the staff."