19 November 2019

The parental response to Richard Dunne's resignation

First published in an A4T newsletter dated: Tuesday 19 Nov 2019:

"We were all devastated to see Mr Dunne’s letter of resignation, and the issues it brought to light.

We are acutely aware of the sorrow and anger expressed so eloquently by so many people over the course of the last 24 hours.

As you know, we had our meeting with the Trust yesterday evening and, following his resignation, we also spoke to Mr Dunne.

Just to be clear on the timing of what happened over the past 48 hours: Mr Dunne sent a resignation letter to the Trust on Sunday evening. He sent it to the school at lunchtime yesterday. Mr Dunne’s resignation was accepted by the Trust.

We understand that Mr Dunne wanted the news to be shared with staff in their post-school staff meeting yesterday, but this did not happen.  We are not sure why, but we can only assume the Trust blocked the resignation letter from being shared.

The resignation letter (which was also addressed to parents and children) was posted on the Ashley Parents’ Facebook group late yesterday afternoon.

Why has Mr Dunne been forced to resign?

The information we have received about what has been happening over the last few months has led us to the conclusion that Mr Dunne has acted in the best interests of the children and Ashley school. Certainly, we have yet to see any evidence to the contrary (and we absolutely do not expect anything to materialise).

From our understanding, the allegations about Mr Dunne’s “performance, regarding procedures and practices” should have been resolvable without his removal from the school.

We have not seen the specific details, but from what we understand any suggestion the allegations are serious does not stand up to scrutiny.

As you know from his letter, Mr Dunne strongly rejects all the allegations against him.

When we spoke to Mr Dunne, he told us he is extremely grateful for all the support he and his family have received. He also very much wants the parents to remain actively involved in challenging the GST and the Governors going forward and in the best interests of the school.

We hope and expect he will continue to be a significant part of our community as things develop."

GST statement on Mr Dunne's departure

At 10.15am on Tuesday 19 November, the GST issued the following statement:

"The Good Shepherd Trust can confirm that Mr Richard Dunne has resigned from his post as Co-Headteacher at Ashley Church of England Primary School. He left the employment of the Trust on 17th November 2019.

We would like to thank Richard for his contribution over the last 18 years and wish him well for the future.

The Trust would like to thank pupils, parents and carers for their continuing support for Ashley Church of England Primary School and its staff team.

We will write to all parents and carers again in due course to provide an update on plans for the school going forward."

18 November 2019

Richard Dunne's resignation letter

Emailed at 5.05pm on 18 November 2019:

"Dear Staff, Parents and Children of Ashley School,

It is with a very heavy heart that I write to inform you that I have resigned from my position at the school with immediate effect.  The Good Shepherd Trust has made a number of allegations about my performance regarding procedures and practices.  I strongly reject the allegations levied by the Trust, but, given the way the Trust has conducted itself so far, I do not believe that I will receive a fair hearing in relation to the concerns they have raised and so I have resigned.

I am also resigning due to the total lack of care my family and I have received from the Trust during this time.  It has made the past few months intolerable and it is not fair on my family for this suffering to continue.

It has been the greatest honour of my life to have led Ashley School for so many years, to have seen the school grow from one-form of entry to close to full three-forms of entry, to have worked with so many wonderful people, both staff and parents, and, most importantly, to have seen so many children flourish during their time at the school.

I am deeply saddened that after 18 years of devoted service to the school, I should be leaving in this way.  I wish you all every success in the future and thank you for so many happy years working together to make Ashley School the special school it is, and I hope will continue to be.

Very best wishes to you all,

Richard Dunne"

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The Regional Schools Commissioner states on what grounds she will get involved

Received 18 November 2019:

"Dear Mr Wallis

Thank you for your email about Ashley Primary School. I have fed the issues you have raised back to the Good Shepherd Trust and they have assured me they are taking your concerns seriously.

I thought it would be helpful to explain the role of the Regional School Commissioner (RSC) and the Education & Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) in relation to formally intervening in the running of an academy trust. Academy Trusts are independent, self governing, organisations funded directly by the government. The RSC and the ESFA will only take formal action against an academy trust when a school within the trust has been judged inadequate by Ofsted or if a trust fails to comply with the academies financial and governance handbooks.

For the above reasons, I hope you will understand why I cannot intervene further on the issues you and other parents have raised about Ashley school. 

The trust will provide a further update before the end of term.
Kind Regards

Claire Burton
Regional Schools Commissioner
South East and South London"

This email was sent in response to a note sent by NW to Ms Burton on 6 November. This is NW's email:

"Dear Ms Burton

I am the parent of a child at Ashley school in Walton. 

As you know, many of the parents here have written to you with concerns about the governance and direction of Ashley School, particularly, but not exclusively with regard to the absence of its inspirational head teacher, Richard Dunne.

I saw the generic, dismissive and inaccurate two line response you sent to many parents on 29 October by way of reply. You stated that the trust “has issued a statement to parents explaining Mr Dunne’s absence.”

Did you read it? The Trust didn’t explain anything.

I attach a letter from Dominic Raab, the erstwhile and likely next MP for Esher and Walton. You will note he has read the statement the Good Shepherd Trust issued, and reflected on it thus: “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.” [my emphasis]

He goes on to say it is “incumbent” on the Trust and the school to show more “transparency" with regards to the "leadership and governance" of the school.

He concludes by saying that “given the seriousness of the situation” he is copying the Secretary of State for Education and the HM Chief Inspector of Education, Schools and Skills at Ofsted into his request for more information from the Trust.

I would politely and respectfully suggest that you take on board the contents of that letter and the many emails you will have received from concerned parents. Please, either do something about it or at the very least tell us why you can’t/won’t and/or what threshold would have to be reached before you might be minded to. 

Sending us a miserable two line generic fob-off directing us towards a statement you evidently hadn’t read is disrespectful at best. If your intention was to anger people, you succeeded.

I look forward to hearing from you shortly. And given the seriousness of the situation, I will, of course, be copying this letter to the Secretary of State for Education, the Chief Inspector of Schools at Ofsted, and Dominic Raab.



NW responded to the 18 Nov email from the regional schools commissioner the day it was received with a note of thanks:

"Dear Ms Burton

Thank you very much for that helpful information and thank you very much for contacting the trust.

I will circulate your note to the group of concerned parents I’m dealing with and we’ll work out what to do from there.

Once again, thanks for taking the time to reply and explain how your role works.



13 November 2019

A4T update to parents

Circular sent on 13 November 2019 to the A4T whatsapp group by a working group of parents who volunteered to take on a number of tasks on the 21 October meeting upstairs at the Anglers.

"Hi all

A small working group of Ashley parents had a meeting on Monday evening to discuss everything that’s been happening since we met as a large group at the Anglers. This message is to update you. 
Please feel free to share with others in the school community.

Thank you

Thank you so much for your continued efforts to help achieve any sort of clarity on what has been happening at Ashley school not just since Mr Dunne’s sudden unexplained absence, but during the period leading up to it. Many of you have written letters and emails to people who could and should be taking a close interest in what has been happening and we are extremely grateful to you for all the contributions to 
ashleycofetransparency@gmail.com over the course of the last three weeks.

New mailing list

We have decided to set up an email mailing list for concerned Ashley parents/carers and staff members. If you want to join, please emails 
ashleycofetransparency@gmail.com putting “Subscribe” in your email title. Please put your full name in the body of the email - it is not always obvious from your email address!!

Those parents who attended the meeting on 21 October and who provided their email addresses previously will be signed up automatically, and will get this message by email, as well as reading it on the whatsapp group and the Ashley Parents Facebook page. If you attended the meeting, provided your email address and do NOT wish to receive occasional email updates please email 
ashleycofetransparency@gmail.com with the word “Unsubscribe” in your email title. Or just hit unsubscribe when the first email comes through.

The latest

We still do not have any new information on Mr Dunne’s situation, but we have been working hard to engage the GST and governors.

To bring anyone new to this up to speed here is a recap of what has been happening since that meeting was convened:

21 Oct

There was a meeting upstairs at The Anglers in Walton for parents concerned about the absence of Richard Dunne. Out of that meeting a small working group was put together to address the concerns raised and take matters forward.

One of the problems identified was the lack of communication as to what was going on, despite repeated attempts to secure an open meeting with the GST at the school.

There were also questions raised as to what parents can do - and discussions were had about communicating with people of influence to try to get answers in the absence of information. The email addresses of several organisations and individuals including Dominic Raab MP were collated and parents were encouraged to write to them with their concerns.

There was also an agreement that a letter would be sent to the GST asking for a meeting and for several important concerns about the absence of Richard Dunne to be addressed.

Subsequent to that meeting a letter was constructed by a small group of people which was signed by 309 parents and sent to the GST.
Parents also sent their own letters to the GST, the diocese and the governors.

An email inbox (
ashleycofetransparency@gmail.com) was set up for parents to voice concerns which would be put to the GST at any meeting.
An email was sent to the parent governors asking them to engage with parents with concerns in a formal way.

Subsequent to 21 Oct

An email was sent to the parent governors and the GST to request a meeting.
Emails were sent by parents to organisations with oversight of the GST, Ashley School and our MP.

24 October

A statement was released by the GST which said:
“The Trust and the Local Governing Committee want to acknowledge and thank all those parents who have taken time to write letters and contact us, whether to share their concerns about Mr Dunne’s absence or to express their support for the school and appreciation of its staff.

Both the Trust and the Local Governing Committee are very sorry to hear that there is so much speculation about Mr Dunne's absence from school and that this is causing distress and upset amongst some parents.
In previous communications, the Trust has made it clear that it is not currently able to comment on the reasons for Mr Dunne's absence. To do so would breach the confidentiality that he is entitled to as an employee of the Trust.

The Trust understands that these unusual circumstances can sometimes result in frustration. The Trust shares this frustration in not being able to provide more information at this time, which it recognises is extremely challenging for all parties concerned.

The Trust looks forward to communicating more openly and sharing with parents, when it is able to do so. In the meantime, the Trust and the Local Governing Committee will continue to offer support to the school leadership and staff. The Trust will continue to work to resolve the situation as soon as possible on behalf of all the parties involved.”

Also on 24 October

There was a message in the Ashley school newsletter from Jackie Stevens:

We would like to share our vision statement with you: ‘Together we live, love and learn in harmony’ which encompasses all that we are about at Ashley. We have also written a new school prayer which we hope you like: Dear Lord, Help us to grow in our love for learning, Help us to care for each other, Many hands make a building, Many hearts build our school, Help us all to be the best we can, Help unite us together in Harmony, Amen.”

and a note on Harmony:

“OUR CURRICULUM - We have a wonderful curriculum that we are all very proud of. We do our best to link the learning across subjects in the best way we can. We are proud of the Harmony work that the children produce to enhance and understand the meaning of their learning at a deeper level. At times we will block those subjects, such as RE, that can be tricky at times to link. This means that the children can study them in depth over a shorter period of time.”

5 November

A letter was sent by Dominic Raab MP to the Good Shepherd Trust stating:
“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.”

Also on 5 November

A letter was sent by the “majority” of staff (NOT the school senior leadership team) to the GST and the Chair of the school governors Nigel Stapleton expressing extreme concern at Mr Dunne's continuing unexplained absence and paying tribute to his inspirational leadership. The letter also offered unequivocal support to Jackie Stevens.

A source within the school sent a message of support to  parents stating: “most staff share the concerns and are appreciative of what you are doing.”

7 November
A hamper of goodies collected by parents over half term was delivered to the staff. A staff member responded:

“Hello! I’m sure an official thank you will come out but I’d like to personally say thank you SO much for the wonderful goodies in the hampers that you’ve given the staff. We’ve always known what wonderful parents we have at Ashley but this goes above and beyond. Thank you”

And that staff member was right - in the Ashley school newsletter there was a lovely message:

“Dear Parents, the staff would like to send a big thank you for all the treats that you have sent them this week. They are very much appreciated and will be enjoyed for some time to come.”

Also in the newsletter from Jackie Stevens:

“PARENT EMAILS CONCERNING OUR CURRICULUM - I have received a number of emails concerning our curriculum and its delivery. In last week’s newsletter, I did say how proud we are of our curriculum and all the extended learning that makes Ashley the school that it is. The governors have asked me to continue to focus on the wellbeing and education of the children; therefore please do look at the website for any details concerning the curriculum that you wish to know.”

Also on 7 November

A letter was sent by the GST to the parents agreeing a meeting on 18 November with a delegation of four named parents with varying skillsets and children at different years in Ashley.

Another message went out from the parents working group to the parents whatsapp group asking for questions and submissions to the parent delegation, which they would be able to take to the GST on 18 November.

10 November
Parent governors responded to the request for a meeting by suggesting we wait until after 18 November.

11 November
The parents working group meeting approved an agenda for 18 November. The agenda has been submitted to the GST for further discussion. Once the agenda has been agreed by the GST it will be circulated.

It was agreed that a suggestion for a meeting date of 20 November would be sent to the parent governors. At the moment, this is still a meeting between two parents representatives and the two parent governors.

Parents meeting

An open post-GST meeting date and location for parents/carers concerned about the continued absence of Mr Dunne was decided for Mon 25 November somewhere close to central Walton. By that stage we should have been able to circulate the minutes of the GST meeting and get an idea of numbers to sort a suitable venue.

It would be lovely to see as many of you there as possible.

Please share

We are conscious that however you receive this message it is only going to a subset of parents/carers, not every Ashley parent. We have no way of reaching everyone. Therefore if you know a parent/carer who might appreciate receiving this message and might want to come to the meeting on the 25 November, or join the mailing list, please do forward it to them.

Thanks for taking the time to read this, and thank you for whatever contribution you have made in any way - many hands make light work. We are immensely grateful. And we hope to get some clarity soon.

Ian Birdsey

Lu Digweed
Jules Jones
David Kendall
Raine Peake
Tabitha Siklos
Anna Simms
Lesley Stockman
Andy Stocks
Laura Sutton
Nick Wallis
Karola Zakrzewska"


11 November 2019

Chair of GST responds to Dominic Raab's letter

Sent on 11 November:

"Dear Dominic,

The Good Shepherd Trust and Richard Dunne

I am writing in response to your letter of 5 November to Alex Tear (Interim CEO).

I am rather surprised by what you have written, since you say that you understand the issues around privacy.

I hope that you will accept that we can say no more to you, or to the parents at this time. In my judgement, we have been as transparent and reassuring as possible, given the nature of what is taking place. As a responsible employer, we are concerned for Richard Dunne, his welfare and his right to confidentiality. We regret that this prevents us from saying more to address the frustration of anxious parents at the school.

In paragraphs 4 and 5 of the statement on 24 October, we have explained: first, that we are not currently able to comment on the reasons for absence, as doing so would be a breach of an employee’s right to confidentiality; and, secondly, that we look forward to sharing more openly with parents when we are permitted to do so.

We are all hoping for an early resolution and ask for patience as the matter is given both the highest priority and our utmost attention.

If you still have concerns over how this matter is being handled by the Trust, then I suggest that we should meet and discuss.

Yours sincerely

Simon Walker JP
Chair of the Board of Trustees / Directors"

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"

18 October 2019

Letter to GST signed by 309 Ashley parents

By email and registered post:

"Dear Mr Tear,

18 October 2019

Ashley Church of England Primary School, Walton on Thames

We, the undersigned parents of children attending Ashley CofE Primary school, wish to request urgent clarification with respect to the leadership and future direction of teaching at our school.
Next week Ashley CofE Primary school breaks up for the October half term, which will be over six weeks since our Co-Headteacher, Mr Dunne, was last at school. We fail to understand how a “staff related issue” (as you refer to in your letter to the parents and carers of Ashley school dated 15 October 2019), requires such a prolonged absence from school and the lack of transparency is of increasing concern to us. 

Ashley School is a fantastic school with a unique, successful teaching environment and a wonderful school community which depends on parental engagement both through involvement in the classroom and fundraising. The school and parents have always had an excellent relationship with Mr Dunne at the very heart of this and we are anxious about the negative impact that his continued absence is having on the morale of the school community. 

We wish to express our strong support for Mr Dunne, who as the Headteacher of 18 years standing is not only integral to and synonymous with Ashley School in a professional capacity, but is also a parent to a young child at the school. It is our sincere hope that Mr Dunne will return to his position at Ashley school once the “staff related issue" is resolved.

With the above paragraph in mind, we make the following requests:

1. That this issue is handled as a priority and that a timescale is communicated to us as soon as practicable.

2. That representatives from the Good Shepherd Trust attend an open meeting in the school hall to discuss the future direction of Ashley School under the Good Shepherd Trust leadership.

3. That you confirm precisely what “additional support" the Trust is providing at this time.

Yours sincerely,

The undersigned (309 names follow)

cc. The Trustees of the Good Shepherd Trust, Ashley School LGC."

16 October 2019

Nick's Deleted Ashley Parents Community Forum Facebook Post

I wrote the following on 16 October 2019 and posted it on the Ashley Parent Community facebook forum. It was apparently removed by the admins on the instruction of the governors so I posted it on my own facebook page.

"This post has been written in the spirit of peace, love and understanding with the very best of intentions, which are to see Mr Dunne back in post at school, if at all possible, asap. It is a personal view, though I suspect it is shared by at least a few other parents.
I had a long and useful conversation with school governor Melvyn Mills and head teacher Jackie Stevens last night about the prolonged absence of Mr Dunne and the lack of any useful information as to why.
I was struck by how much respect both Jackie and Melvyn showed for Mr Dunne. Both have known him longer than I have (and I reckon I’ve known him a good 10 years now).
Indeed I have been taken by just how much love and support Mr Dunne appears to engender amongst the school community. I always thought he was a decent sort and a great head teacher but to find out that so many other people feel the same has been life-affirming and useful.
Obviously no one can speak for everyone and I’m sure the man’s not a saint, but standing in the room with Melvyn and Jackie and hearing about the governors’ respect for Mr Dunne and the staff’s respect for Mr Dunne made me think it’s time do something before someone, somewhere up the chain makes a bad decision which is difficult to reverse.
First though I would like to address the statement made by the GST that Mr Dunne is absent for “personal reasons”, and that they’re not going to comment further in order to protect his privacy.
If Mr Dunne were absent for personal reasons, he would say so. At the beginning of term he would have sent out an email or issued a statement via the school or GST saying “I am really sorry but I am going to have to take a leave of absence until further notice. It is for personal reasons and I would be very grateful if you would respect my privacy at this time. The trust are working hard to put in place a superb top team to manage Ashley in my absence…” etc etc
But he didn’t.
Also, when this all blew up, Mr Dunne could have issued a statement via the trust or the school saying - “thank you all for your concern, but I really am away for personal reasons, I’m really sorry I’m not back yet, but I do hope to be soon, please don’t worry about me”.
He hasn’t.
If an organisation tells you someone is absent for personal reasons and you cannot get that confirmed by the person in question, you are being played.
If an organisation tells you that they cannot comment further in order to protect the privacy of someone who suddenly seems unable to speak for themselves, you are being played.
The organisation is likely only protecting one thing - itself - and is using its clout to control the narrative and flow of information.
Quite how we’ve managed to cede all the executive power in the school hierarchy to an organisation which only came on the scene very recently and appears to be able to make our long-serving head teacher vanish is a question for another day, but I am certain that the longer this goes on, and the less pressure the GST feels, the more likely it is Mr Dunne will not return.
I don’t want that.
Jackie made it quite clear last night that both she and Richard were very happy with the co-head teacher arrangement and were looking forward to the new school year.
If you want Mr Dunne to remain as Ashley co-head teacher, we need to put pressure (in the politest possible way) on the GST and whoever they answer to (Dept of Education? Bishop of Guildford?)
If you don’t want Mr Dunne to remain as Ashley co-head teacher, doing nothing, saying that we don’t know what’s happened or suggesting we wait for an update is definitely your best option. 
I would far rather feel foolish for getting completely the wrong end of the stick, than find out in the next update that Mr Dunne has gone and that's that.
If our pressure makes it harder for the trust to get rid of him, and makes it an easier decision to work to get Mr Dunne back into the school, it might help.
At the moment the path of least resistance leads to a secret decision, one year’s salary, big fat NDA, goodbye, sir.
1) Assuming they feel as strongly as Melvyn does, I would like the governors to take a lead on this. I would like them to write a letter expressing their profound concern at the continued absence of a gifted head teacher, and I would very much like the most senior member of staff and the most senior governor (who isn’t conflicted) to sign it on behalf of all staff and all governors. As most of us know a letter of support is going to the GST from parents very soon. I’m not sure if the governors feel able or would achieve anything constructive if they threatened to resign en masse, but if they feel strongly enough about the situation and have any power, they should be thinking about how to exercise it.
2) I would also like the relaxing of the arbitrary GST-imposed rule which stops staff talking to parents. I am quite convinced that none of the staff or governors know what is going on, so presuming the staff would like to keep their boss we need to be able to talk to each other to work out what to do next.
3) I would like to know what pastoral support the governors, GST and the parish is offering Mr Dunne and his family.
4) I would like more information. It is surely not beyond the wit of the GST and its lawyers, (possibly in agreement with Mr Dunne’s representatives) to issue a statement which offers a reasonable amount of information to parents. Pretty much any other sentence than “personal reasons” would bat away the wilder speculation, calm everything down and not in any way prejudice what may already be a legal dispute. If this is an operational disagreement, or an employment dispute, say so. There is no tribunal or legal process in the land that would object to a clear, succinct setting out of the situation. It doesn’t have to be a secret.
5) Whatever happens to Mr Dunne, a public meeting, attended by the GST to discuss the future direction of the school under their leadership would be very helpful, but I’d rather it were held before Mr Dunne’s situation is finalised.
The danger is that a difference of opinion between an inspirational head teacher and his interim boss (if that’s what it is) leads to an entire community losing its inspirational head teacher, whilst the interim CEO moves on to his next role, blithely unaware of the damage done.
If you want to get involved, marshal your top line contacts amongst the diocese, GST, governors, council, staff, unions, lawyers, MPs, royal household (!) employment experts and parents. Talk to them. Ask for their help. Keep the pressure on the GST.
I know brighter minds than mine are already looking at the governance of the GST, its complaints procedure and other interventions, such as Freedom of Information requests. All of these have their place and can put pressure on an organisation to come clean and do the right thing. Or, at least, not do the wrong thing.
Finally - my thoughts to the staff at Ashley school. They are in a horrible position which is not of their own making, and unlike us, their jobs and careers are potentially at risk if they step out of line. I would not blame them the slightest jot for wanting to stay away from the whole thing. But I think those staff who feel strongly about Richard should be protected by their school (and all of us) and should be allowed to show their support, because it might actually make a difference.
Sorry for the lengthy post. Thanks for reading."