The West London Free School (WLFS), domain of the loathsome Toby Young, is, as I noted last Saturday, in big trouble. The building work at Palingswick House in Hammersmith appears stalled, parents (plural) are taking their children out of the school, and we still have no official explanation of why former head teacher Sam Naismith left suddenly in mid-term.
Still down there in the Weinbunker, Tobes?
Tobes said of Naismith in the WLFS prospectus “Not only is he a man of commanding authority, but his vision of what a good school should be tallies exactly with ours”. What that meant is becoming clearer by the day: Naismith was running his own “Educational Consultancy” out of the school, I’m told. Two other WLFS staff were, apparently, in on the deal.
This enterprising co-operative then hired out their expertise to other schools, such was the reputation that the WLFS had gained, albeit significantly inflated by favourable publicity in the right-leaning press. All was done on WLFS time. But the rewards for this endeavour did not accrue to WLFS, it seems, but to Naismith and his co-conspirators. How could this have happened?
Ah well. When this creative enterprise was discovered, Naismith had to go. He was duly sacked, or whatever more soothing form of words the Governors may have devised. Tobes, as CEO, was told that the other two also had to go. We do not know their identities as yet. But we do know that two of the staff also left around the same time as Naismith. And one of them appears bang to rights.
That person was Sam Druce, who, as Tom at Boris Watch has noted, was a pupil of Naismith’s and was hired straight from University, where he took a 2:2 in “Sports and Exercise”. His linkedin profile no longer contains his job description from WLFS, but Tom noted it down: “I schedule and oversee the Headmaster’s diary in order to respond to the changing demands of each day” he tells.
Then he expands on this: “I am responsible for the organisation and management of the school budget”. Think about that: maybe he exaggerated, maybe not, but the thought that Tobes’ headmaster was working a flanker, aided and abetted by a personal hire who had control of the budget and was therefore in an ideal position to keep the “consultancy” quiet, is a singularly disturbing one.
On the identity of the third person involved I will say no more, although it seems that the WLFS now has twice as many PE teachers at maths specialists. Meanwhile, Tobes has little time to utilise the expertise of Sally Coates, who has become acting principal, before she goes off to United Learning next September. Perhaps she can persuade him to come clean about what Naismith was up to.
Because, in the meantime, Zelo Street investigations will continue.