A headteacher, who vowed to change the fortunes of a primary school rated inadequate by Ofsted inspectors within a year, will not be returning "for a period of time".

Emma Kelty joined Knollmead Primary School in Tolworth last September, weeks after inspectors visited the school and placed it in a category of concern with several "serious weaknesses".

In October, Ms Kelty gave an interview to the Surrey Comet in which she pledged to turn Knollmead into an outstanding school within a year of her headship.

But last week parents were informed by letter that she would not be back for the new term - and it is unclear when or if she will return.

The letter from Diana Brotherston, chair of governors, read: "I am writing to you in my capacity as chair of governors to inform you that unfortunately Ms Kelty will not be in school for a period of time."

The letter adds that arrangements have been made with Coombe Schools Federation - which has formed a partnership with Knollmead to help it improve.

No details have been given for Ms Kelty’s sudden departure - and she had not responded to attempts by the Surrey Comet to contact her at the time of going to press.

Burlington Junior School headteacher Pip Utting will lead the school for the interim.

Kingston Council leader Kevin Davis said: "It is interesting and I am sure people are worried about it.

"Unless I know what's going on in the internal politics it's difficult to know whether it is good or bad.

"Somebody has clearly taken a decision that it is time for a change. What we don't know is if it's the head or the governors or the head of Coombe."

Liberal Democrat leader councillor Liz Green said: "It is not the norm for a head to come in for a year and then step down. I don't know what the circumstances are."

When Ms Kelty joined Knollmead, she told the Surrey Comet: "I know that we will rise to be outstanding within the year due to the wonderful and unfaltering dedication of the staff here at Knollmead.

"I am very proud to join Knollmead Primary School at this exciting time and we intend to build on the sterling work already undertaken in order to propel Knollmead into an inspirational hub where learning boundaries are challenged everyday by everyone.

"I, the staff and friends of Knollmead are steadfast in wanting only the best for the children and together we will achieve our aspirations."

The latest inspection at the school in March this year found it was "making reasonable progress towards the removal of the serious weaknesses designation".

Are you a parent at Knollmead? Call the newsdesk on 020 8722 6321 or email ndewji@london.newsquest.co.uk.