20 January 2020

The GST responds to publication of the allegations against Richard Dunne

On Friday 17 January 2020, this website published the Good Shepherd Trust's allegations against Ashley School head teacher, Richard Dunne. I asked the GST for comment before the allegations were published. They declined.

On Monday 20 January, the GST sent the following statement to parents:

"Statement from The Good Shepherd Trust

Ashley Church of England Primary School

The Good Shepherd Trust is aware of an online article published on Friday 17th January which purports to provide an informed narrative concerning the circumstances surrounding the resignation of the former co-headteacher of Ashley Church of England Primary School.

The article makes a number of allegations against individuals, including current members of staff, Local Governing Committee members and Trustees.

Additionally, in recent weeks, the integrity of the Trust and its commitment to Ashley school has been called into question.

Since September 2019, the Trust has made every effort to ensure that these employment matters remained confidential in order to protect Mr Dunne. The Trust also has a duty of care to serving members of staff who are entitled to be able to work in a secure and supportive environment without fear or intimidation.

It is a matter of regret that Mr Dunne chose to resign the night before a disciplinary and capability hearing which had already been postponed twice before at Mr Dunne􏰀s request. Having agreed to those delays, the panel was extremely disappointed Mr Dunne then chose not to attend the hearing. Had he done so, he would have had the opportunity to present evidence and set out his position in full.

While Mr Dunne is understandably most concerned with his personal situation, it is very disappointing and unfortunate that despite continued efforts by the Trust to maintain confidentiality and protect its staff, the author of the article has demonstrated a flagrant disregard for the professional welfare of the serving school staff.

The Trust has referred the content of the investigation to statutory, regulatory authorities who will consider the evidence themselves. Mr Dunne is aware these processes are underway and is able to submit evidence to these independent bodies.

Since September, the Trust has been in regular contact with the Department for Education, the Regional Schools Commissioner, Ofsted, Surrey County Council and others to ensure that these stakeholders and agencies have been briefed appropriately and are aware of this matter.

The Trust and the Local Governing Committee remain committed to working in partnership with all parents and has recently launched the Ashley Parent Partnership to improve communication between the school, parents and the wider community.

Ashley Church of England Primary School continues to be a very highly valued member of our Trust family. We believe that the school has a strong future. Building on its achievements, we are committed to excellent educational outcomes for all the children in our care.

As part of that commitment, the Trust has appointed a National Leader of Education, Mr Alex Clark, to ensure that the school is well led, managed and focused on delivering school improvement.

Children remain at the heart of everything we do. Our hope is that everyone in the school community will work together to achieve the best possible outcomes for all the children in our care."


For more on this please see the detailed timeline of events.

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