05 November 2019

Letter from Ashley School staff to GST and LGC

This letter was sent by Ashley School staff (not including the school's senior leadership team) to the chief executive of the Good Shepherd Trust, and the chair of Ashley School's Local Governing Committee, on 5 November 2019.

It was made public some days after Richard Dunne left the school:

"Dear Mr Alexander Tear and Mr Nigel Stapleton,

We would like it to be formally acknowledged that a number of Ashley C of E staff are increasingly concerned regarding the unexplained, sudden and continued absence of Richard Dunne.

He is highly respected by the school community; teaching and support staff and the parent body, for his visionary leadership. There are many unique selling points that set Ashley apart from other schools. Richard has been the driving force behind our creative curriculum and pioneering sustainability model, which has been developed in partnership with the staff. We feel these are some of the countless reasons why our school has been oversubscribed for many years and why good teachers choose to remain.

Richard’s dedication to the children of Ashley School, its staff and community is inspirational. His passion for providing the best quality experiential teaching and learning is at the core of Ashley School’s ethos.

The staff recognise the dedication of Jackie Stevens during this time and are grateful for her taking on the full time responsibilities of head teacher during this unsettled period. We value her commitment to upholding the vision of this school.

The staff feel great uneasiness and anxiety due to this situation and hope a positive resolution can be reached soon.

We thank you for taking the time to read this."

Letter No 1 from Dominic Raab MP to Alex Tear at the GST

"Dear Mr Tear,

I have read the statement dated 24 October from The Good Shepherd Trust (TGST) regarding
Ashley Church of England Primary School and its head, Mr Richard Dunne.

I have received numerous emails and letters from worried parents. I appreciate the issues
around privacy that TGST have referred to, but I think it is unreasonable for the Trust not to
set out any substantive explanation at all for Mr Dunne’s absence after such a long period.

Whatever the reasons, it is incumbent on both Ashley Church of England Primary School and
TGST to give parents a measure of transparency with regards to the leadership and
governance of the school, even if there is a limit on the detail that can be shared at this stage.

I hope you will be in a position to provide a further explanation as soon as possible.

Given the seriousness of the situation, I am copying this letter to the Rt. Hon. Gavin
Williamson, the Secretary of State for Education, and Ms Amanda Spielman, HM Chief
Inspector of Education, Children's Services and Skills at Ofsted.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours sincerely,

Dominic Raab

cc Rt Hon Secretary of State for Education, Gavin Williamson
Ms Amanda Spielman, HM Chief Inspector of Education, Children's Services and Skills, Ofsted"