|Revs Cathy and Jonny Blair|
On top this, they put the school into special measures [the Notice to Improve], ruined staff morale, lost their long-standing deputy head-teacher and drove a wedge through the parent community, most of whom have publicly called for an independent inquiry into how recent events have been handled.
Now the LGC chair the GST brought in to replace Nigel Stapleton has walked, after a matter of weeks.
In a message sent to parents yesterday our interim head teacher said:
"On Friday, the local governing committee (LGC) chair, Chris Howard, decided not to continue with the role into the next academic year. His experience and skills have been gained in local authority (LA) maintained schools, where governance and responsibilities differ widely. We were, of course, aware of these differences but felt Chris’s varied experience would benefit the Trust. However Chris now feels that he cannot add sufficient value in an academy setting, at least to his own satisfaction. That said, we have benefitted from his knowledge and experience immensely since he joined us in March and I am personally very grateful for all his support, leading our LGC through a very challenging period."And who has been appointed interim chair after Chris Howard's departure? A conciliatory hands-across-the-water mediator with all the skills required to mend the broken bridges and start the long journey towards fixing the problems? Not quite.
The new LGC chair is the Reverend Cathy Blair. The one who behaved so badly towards Richard Dunne during LGC meetings she was asked to apologise, who (at a staff meeting the morning after Richard Dunne resigned) shouted down teachers who tried to protest, and who has lost significant members of her congregation, disgusted at the way she and the Rev Jonny Blair have handled matters.
A former member of her congregation had already written to Rev Blair after Richard Dunne was completely cleared of all the GST's charges by the Teaching Regulation Agency. I suggest Peter's letter now has more urgency than when it was written.
I liked Chris Howard. I went to meet him at his home in Hurtmore. We sat in the garden with Mrs Howard (a former teacher) and chatted for two hours. He was exactly the right person to start the gradual process of helping the school recover from what the GST has done to it. We left on very good terms. To find the GST has managed to lose him already is gutting, to say the least.