SYTCHAMPTON headteacher Helen Mann had been trying to do "too much too soon" in her new role at her school, an inquest heard today.

Mrs Mann was found hanged at Sytchampton Endowed First School on Monday, November 5, which was her first day back at school following a month of sick leave.

Chairman of governors Stephanie Gait told Worcestershire coroner's court that she became increasingly concerned about Mrs Mann after she found an employment issue concerning supply teacher Angela Mercer "distressing."

Dr Gait said: "We couldn't work out why she was finding it so difficult. We kept trying to reassure her."

She said the school employed Mrs Mann as she came across as a "bright young woman with the experience we wanted and the skills that we needed." "A fellow governor described her as bright eyed and bushy tailed.

"My perception was that she was received well. We were all hoping for positive things for the school and looking forward to her arrival.

"It was predominantly a management role - there was a teaching element, which is often the case in a small school."

Dr Gait said as the summer term progressed, Mrs Mann was being overly ambitious.

She added: "We felt she was trying to do too much too soon. She had a lot of targets in her school development plan. It was probably not realistic in the timescale she had hoped."

Dr Gait told the inquest how Mrs Mann was signed off sick after collapsing at a meeting for new headteachers in the autumn term. Mrs Mann was to return to school on November 5 as part of a phased return.

Dr Gait said: "She was concerned what people would think of her and she was concerned that we might not want her back."

At a previous meeting for new headteachers, Mrs Mann had said she had found an employment issue "challenging" and that she had not expected it.

Witness Angela Mercer told the inquest that Mrs Mann had told her she had no choice but to make her redundant.

Miss Mercer said: "She was clearly very distressed. She made every effort to be supportive. She said she would contact colleagues to see if there were any positions available.

"She expressed concern that it was very traumatic for me but also said she found the task overwhelming."

The inquest continues.