I have a confession to make: yesterday’s post, considering the reasons for the West London Free School (WLFS) acquiring an £9.25 million office block, missed one fact. This was not a case of instead of the council-supplied Palingswick House, but in addition to it, as Tom at Boris Watch has pointed out in a post which should be required reading for all studying the machinations of the loathsome Toby Young.
Tobes considers his next glass, er, sorry, move
Moreover, the Cambridge House site currently occupied by the WLFS will have to be retained to house the associated primary school. The capital outlay alone looks set to exceed £20 million. And then there is the question of the suddenly departed Sam Naismith, meaning that WLFS is currently without a head teacher, and will soon be on its third head in three years.
The full circumstances of Naismith’s departure are still, it would seem, subject to an increasingly desperate attempt by Tobes to keep a lid on the whole affair, and one part of it I need more time to stand up, but the word that comes all too readily to my informants – in the cases both of Naismith and his predecessor Thomas Packer – begins with N. That’s N as in Nepotism.
It’s suggested that the key failing with both men was not down to Tobes and the manner in which, as CEO, he manages WLFS, but with themselves. Packer hired a family member as staff. Both departed at the same time – after the end of the 2012-3 school year. Naismith also appears to have hired a family member as staff: thus the presence of a “Miss H Naismith”, who is “subject leader of Girls’ PE and games”.
But Naismith also appointed one Sam Druce, who is not a qualified teacher, although of course Tobes doesn’t consider that pesky “union approved slip of paper” to be necessary. While Druce has some pupil contact – sport once again – his main role is as “PA to the Headmaster”. Yes, as Boris Watch noted, no doubt with eyebrows raised, he is 24 and claims to have been given control of the school’s budget.
My information is that Druce comes into the “friends” part of “family and friends” – the suggestion is that he’s a pal of Naismith. So look out for him moving on before long. As to Miss H Naismith, Tobes asserts that she is not related. But, you may ask, what was the school’s management doing while the appointment of the departed head’s family and friends was taking place?
That, folks, is the $64,000 question. Packer and Naismith may have acted in a less than totally sensible manner, but only because they could. It is down to the CEO of WLFS – that would be you, Tobes – to make sure everything is above board. That also means bearing in mind that it’s our money that is being spent on this enterprise. And WLFS is swallowing rather a lot of it right now.
Meanwhile, my investigations continue. All information gratefully received.