As the loathsome Toby Young continues in position as CEO of the West London Free School (WLFS), more information arrives on Zelo Street regarding events that led to the sudden departure of former head teacher Sam Naismith. It makes awful reading, showing that the misuse of taxpayers’ money was worse than previously revealed, and casts doubt on Tobes’ suitability as a manager.
Time to depart the Weinbunker, Tobes
But let us start with the “consultancy” set up under the aegis of Naismith, which was, I’m told, a hockey academy. It could hardly be otherwise, given the preponderance of qualified players at the school. The identity of the “third man” in this enterprise is believed to be Director of Sport John Smedley. I am informed that he has been asked to leave WLFS, and will do so in the near future.
The pals’ network around Naismith included not only Smedley, who knew him before arriving at WLFS, but also senior master Stanton and teacher Aaron Hudson, part of whose salary, I believe, is paid by Naismith’s hockey club, Barnes. What happens to the latter two after the head’s departure is anyone’s guess. But it is other extra-curricular activities of some in this group that will horrify parents.
My information is that Naismith would, from time to time, use WLFS funds – that means taxpayers’ money, folks – for his sports department to enjoy what were termed “bonding” evenings. Having been thus enriched, those wishing to ingratiate themselves with the head would proceed to a suitable Rub-A-Dub, where they would become Elephant’s Trunk and Mozart.
This demonstrated an ability to, more or less, literally spray public funds up the wall. It got worse: some staff became so well-refreshed, I’m told, that they crashed out on the school premises. On one occasion, it is alleged that the caretaker objected in forthright terms to having to clean up vomit found in Naismith’s study. Small wonder heads have rolled, and continue to roll.
What we have here is a total failure of anyone at WLFS to exercise control over spending, plus excessive behaviour, and of course a range of enterprising but highly irregular extra-curricular activities. The board of governors must take their share of the blame for the sorry state of affairs, but the buck stops with the CEO, the manager. And that person is Toby Young.
Tobes has presided over an apparent taxpayer-funded self-enrichment initiative, and a taxpayer-funded drinking culture, while staff turnover has been abnormally high, and continues to be so (I am informed that, by the end of the school year, only one teacher of English, Laura Matthews, will be left). The parents, pupils and staff of WLFS deserve competent leadership. And they aren’t getting it.
Toby Young has no alternative. He must resign as WLFS CEO, and do so now.