Problems with all those Very Wonderful academies encouraged by Education Secretary Michael “Oiky” Gove and his cheerleaders continue, and this weekend it became clear that those catering to primary age children are not immune to the problem of head teachers departing, or otherwise going missing, as not one, but two of them made the news for all the wrong reasons.
Yes, you, and it's still our money
First came the news from the Surrey commuter belt town of Guildford that the head of Weyfield Primary Academy had suddenly departed his post, despite a glowing Ofsted report and the support of enthusiastic parents. “Simon Wood joined the school in 2012 when it was struggling with one of the worst reputations in the borough and was regarded as 'inadequate' by inspectors” it was reported..
But this soon changed: “Within a year its ranking had risen to 'good' and inspectors were praising the ‘magical’ atmosphere of learning”. One parent told that “This is a tragedy for the school. Mr Wood used to greet every child by name at the gate. He was special. It just doesn’t make sense for him to leave like that”. And note that this is yet another instance of a departure part-way through the school year.
Why would The Kemnal Academies Trust (TKAT) take such a step? Ah well. Although the school had improved sufficiently to get a “good” rating from Ofsted, recent Key Stage 2 test results had been poor. Although Wood said these “were to be expected and that ‘it was always going to take two years to redress the balance’”, it looks like another premature sacking rooted in lack of realism.
And, it seems, Weyfield Primary Academy and TKAT is not an isolated example, as parents in Worcester have now discovered: the town’s Perry Wood Primary school, run by Griffin Schools Trust, is now without its head teacher, although it would appear that Ange Beddow has not left. She just hasn’t been there since the beginning of December, and nobody can tell when she will return.
Amusingly, Worcester News cornered “Oiky” in the mistaken belief that it would make a difference: “The minister admitted his shock over the situation – which has seen popular head Mrs Beddow be away from the school since early December – and vowed he would try to sort out the stand-off and get answers for parents”. Gove was “going to get answers”. Like heck he was.
Griffin Schools Trust “has not commented on the situation, saying only that Mrs Beddow remains in her role”. But parents have been told nothing, and the local authority is powerless: “because it is an academy the school runs its own affairs, and both the school and the trust have rejected pleas for answers”. Welcome to the new and totally un-accountable world of Gove’s academies.
“Oiky’s” cheerleaders are once again silent today. No surprise there, then.