Richmond School governors were issued with warning notice after failing to carry out statutory duties

DEFENDED RECORD: Headteacher Ian Robertson

DEFENDED RECORD: Headteacher Ian Robertson

First published in News
Last updated
The Northern Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Regional Chief Reporter

RICHMOND School governors who resigned en-masse had failed to carry out their statutory duties, a local authority has claimed.

North Yorkshire County Council corporate director for children and young people's service, Pete Dwyer, has revealed why a formal warning notice was issued to the governors which prompted their resignations.

In an interview with The Northern Echo, Mr Dwyer said the relationship between the governing body and senior leadership team at the school was "fractured".

He said an agreement had been drawn up requesting an improvement in the board’s communication with senior leaders.

Another agreement required the head teacher's performance appraisal to be undertaken by a specified date.

However, the notice was issued when these steps were not taken, said Mr Dwyer.

He added: “Over a long period of time we had tried to work with the governing body to resolve those issues and arising from those attempts there were some agreements put in place that were not being delivered by the governing body.” 

Although he stood by the decision to issue the warning notice, Mr Dwyer said the authority could have given more explanation to parents about the reason for the warning notice at an earlier date.

Headteacher Ian Robertson said he never considered the relationship with the governing body to be “fractured”, although he admitted there had been disagreements.

Since the governors’ resignations, the head has faced criticism about his management style.

However, Mr Robertson defended his record, saying the school had seen year on year improvements since he took over four years ago, including better exam results, more pupils getting into their first university choice and significant sporting success.

“Sometimes you have to make difficult decisions that some people aren’t comfortable with - that’s part of parcel of running a large secondary school that aims to be one of the best in the country and we’re very nearly there,” he added.

Comments (15)

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7:09pm Tue 22 Apr 14

suzanne84 says...

Perhaps this means an end to the negative attention surrounding a good school. At a time where the teachers and students should be focused on exams, this witch hunt is causing a dip in morale for those who work and study at Richmond School.
Perhaps this means an end to the negative attention surrounding a good school. At a time where the teachers and students should be focused on exams, this witch hunt is causing a dip in morale for those who work and study at Richmond School. suzanne84
  • Score: 27

7:15pm Tue 22 Apr 14

Howardscorton says...

does anyone actually believe a word of this? Utter whitewash job.
does anyone actually believe a word of this? Utter whitewash job. Howardscorton
  • Score: -25

7:22pm Tue 22 Apr 14

suzanne84 says...

Howardscorton I'm unsure what you feel your negativity is doing other than exacerbating tensions. You clearly have strong views yet instead of using them to make suggestions or helpful remarks you merely rant. It is not constructive to those who teach or learn there.
Howardscorton I'm unsure what you feel your negativity is doing other than exacerbating tensions. You clearly have strong views yet instead of using them to make suggestions or helpful remarks you merely rant. It is not constructive to those who teach or learn there. suzanne84
  • Score: 24

10:32pm Tue 22 Apr 14

Richmond49 says...

The LEA have provided the feedback requested and it's time that Mr Scorton ceased his bitter and twisted campaign and focused on something more positive, for the sake of the children and the superb team at this school.
The LEA have provided the feedback requested and it's time that Mr Scorton ceased his bitter and twisted campaign and focused on something more positive, for the sake of the children and the superb team at this school. Richmond49
  • Score: 29

2:30pm Wed 23 Apr 14

Bugstoto says...

The morale of the staff and students was extremely low even before all of the press scandals brought into play by this dictatorial management style and I have personal experience of this. If any other member of staff had brought negative press to the school this person has and had been caught arranging shady deals to line their friends pockets they would have been shown the door instantly. If what has been claimed is true, that contracts were awarded without adhering to the proper procedures and even worse than this, the owners of the companies were personal friends of the head, then this is surely represents gross misconduct and misappropriation of funds?? In a time where every penny public officials spend is scrutinized why isn't Mr Hague looking into this matter instead of dismissing it as an LEA problem?? The management style being used died with satanic mills in more enlightened organisations and the approach being used shows a complete lack of management knowledge and ability in the senior staff at the school - not just in the head but also in the "hand picked" staff he has employed to surround him to make his life easier. Even if they had an original idea they would not get the chance to use it. I had personal experience of this management style and the misery it brought (and still brings) to staff and students and I just hope that something is done to replace those people ruining a fine school. The AS and GCSE results last year were amongst the worst the schools has had - that is NOT a year on year improvement and saying it is is a downright lie!!
The morale of the staff and students was extremely low even before all of the press scandals brought into play by this dictatorial management style and I have personal experience of this. If any other member of staff had brought negative press to the school this person has and had been caught arranging shady deals to line their friends pockets they would have been shown the door instantly. If what has been claimed is true, that contracts were awarded without adhering to the proper procedures and even worse than this, the owners of the companies were personal friends of the head, then this is surely represents gross misconduct and misappropriation of funds?? In a time where every penny public officials spend is scrutinized why isn't Mr Hague looking into this matter instead of dismissing it as an LEA problem?? The management style being used died with satanic mills in more enlightened organisations and the approach being used shows a complete lack of management knowledge and ability in the senior staff at the school - not just in the head but also in the "hand picked" staff he has employed to surround him to make his life easier. Even if they had an original idea they would not get the chance to use it. I had personal experience of this management style and the misery it brought (and still brings) to staff and students and I just hope that something is done to replace those people ruining a fine school. The AS and GCSE results last year were amongst the worst the schools has had - that is NOT a year on year improvement and saying it is is a downright lie!! Bugstoto
  • Score: -17

2:39pm Wed 23 Apr 14

Bugstoto says...

Richmond49 wrote:
The LEA have provided the feedback requested and it's time that Mr Scorton ceased his bitter and twisted campaign and focused on something more positive, for the sake of the children and the superb team at this school.
I would agree with this comment Richmond49, other than the majority of the senior management the school staff MUST be fantastic and 100% committed...otherwis
e they would not put up with the lack of management expertise being displayed. Either that or they have no alternative than to put up with it. MASSIVE staff turnover and hundreds of years of expertise have been lost in the last 2 years along with scores of students who when they get chance to study elsewhere obviously take that option. QE in Darlington and other 6th form colleges in the area never seem to have these problems with senior management and also have a much wider range of subjects on offer. Doesn't take a genius to work out what a clever student would choose if their situation allows.
[quote][p][bold]Richmond49[/bold] wrote: The LEA have provided the feedback requested and it's time that Mr Scorton ceased his bitter and twisted campaign and focused on something more positive, for the sake of the children and the superb team at this school.[/p][/quote]I would agree with this comment Richmond49, other than the majority of the senior management the school staff MUST be fantastic and 100% committed...otherwis e they would not put up with the lack of management expertise being displayed. Either that or they have no alternative than to put up with it. MASSIVE staff turnover and hundreds of years of expertise have been lost in the last 2 years along with scores of students who when they get chance to study elsewhere obviously take that option. QE in Darlington and other 6th form colleges in the area never seem to have these problems with senior management and also have a much wider range of subjects on offer. Doesn't take a genius to work out what a clever student would choose if their situation allows. Bugstoto
  • Score: -19

2:45pm Wed 23 Apr 14

Bugstoto says...

suzanne84 wrote:
Perhaps this means an end to the negative attention surrounding a good school. At a time where the teachers and students should be focused on exams, this witch hunt is causing a dip in morale for those who work and study at Richmond School.
The dip in morale has been there virtually since the new head was appointed. His reputation went before him and a massive percentage of the staff have left the school, especially since the record GCSE and A level results 2 years ago. Those staff helped students gain the best results the school has ever seen - banners were made and displayed to celebrate this and yet last year the AS and GCSE results were appalling!! One cause of this is that experienced staff who could find alternative employment voted with their feet over the way the school was being managed - I know - I was there!! Its time people woke up and stopped ignoring what is going on in the school - otherwise things may worsen even further. I really hope that can be avoided but i am not hopeful it can with the current senior management the school has.
[quote][p][bold]suzanne84[/bold] wrote: Perhaps this means an end to the negative attention surrounding a good school. At a time where the teachers and students should be focused on exams, this witch hunt is causing a dip in morale for those who work and study at Richmond School.[/p][/quote]The dip in morale has been there virtually since the new head was appointed. His reputation went before him and a massive percentage of the staff have left the school, especially since the record GCSE and A level results 2 years ago. Those staff helped students gain the best results the school has ever seen - banners were made and displayed to celebrate this and yet last year the AS and GCSE results were appalling!! One cause of this is that experienced staff who could find alternative employment voted with their feet over the way the school was being managed - I know - I was there!! Its time people woke up and stopped ignoring what is going on in the school - otherwise things may worsen even further. I really hope that can be avoided but i am not hopeful it can with the current senior management the school has. Bugstoto
  • Score: -23

2:59pm Wed 23 Apr 14

Howardscorton says...

Richmond has been a great school, my son enjoyed it and learned a lot.
But, things have changed in the last couple of years with low staff morale etc. Last years A Level AS results were appallingly bad. I some subjects more than 60% ods students scored below C (fail grade) and more than 30% graded "U" (not worth giving the lowest marl#k of "E" to. Some students (who came to 6th form with 10 or 11 very good GCSEs scored 4 "U"s.
The school don't want you to know this, they handpick what information is made public to put them in a good light but surely, any parent or student looking at their 6th form coilege choice will want to ask "in my child's subjects, how many students in 2013 were graded below "C" and how many "U".?"
It is not negative to want this school returned to its former reputation and status in the community, it is wanting a better future than the recent past and that is positive.
Richmond has been a great school, my son enjoyed it and learned a lot. But, things have changed in the last couple of years with low staff morale etc. Last years A Level AS results were appallingly bad. I some subjects more than 60% ods students scored below C (fail grade) and more than 30% graded "U" (not worth giving the lowest marl#k of "E" to. Some students (who came to 6th form with 10 or 11 very good GCSEs scored 4 "U"s. The school don't want you to know this, they handpick what information is made public to put them in a good light but surely, any parent or student looking at their 6th form coilege choice will want to ask "in my child's subjects, how many students in 2013 were graded below "C" and how many "U".?" It is not negative to want this school returned to its former reputation and status in the community, it is wanting a better future than the recent past and that is positive. Howardscorton
  • Score: -18

4:10pm Wed 23 Apr 14

suzanne84 says...

Bugstoto wrote:
suzanne84 wrote:
Perhaps this means an end to the negative attention surrounding a good school. At a time where the teachers and students should be focused on exams, this witch hunt is causing a dip in morale for those who work and study at Richmond School.
The dip in morale has been there virtually since the new head was appointed. His reputation went before him and a massive percentage of the staff have left the school, especially since the record GCSE and A level results 2 years ago. Those staff helped students gain the best results the school has ever seen - banners were made and displayed to celebrate this and yet last year the AS and GCSE results were appalling!! One cause of this is that experienced staff who could find alternative employment voted with their feet over the way the school was being managed - I know - I was there!! Its time people woke up and stopped ignoring what is going on in the school - otherwise things may worsen even further. I really hope that can be avoided but i am not hopeful it can with the current senior management the school has.
Bugstoto you may have been there, but I work at the school currently as well as having attended it as a student under previous headship. The only morale issues are being caused by the constant media attention.
[quote][p][bold]Bugstoto[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]suzanne84[/bold] wrote: Perhaps this means an end to the negative attention surrounding a good school. At a time where the teachers and students should be focused on exams, this witch hunt is causing a dip in morale for those who work and study at Richmond School.[/p][/quote]The dip in morale has been there virtually since the new head was appointed. His reputation went before him and a massive percentage of the staff have left the school, especially since the record GCSE and A level results 2 years ago. Those staff helped students gain the best results the school has ever seen - banners were made and displayed to celebrate this and yet last year the AS and GCSE results were appalling!! One cause of this is that experienced staff who could find alternative employment voted with their feet over the way the school was being managed - I know - I was there!! Its time people woke up and stopped ignoring what is going on in the school - otherwise things may worsen even further. I really hope that can be avoided but i am not hopeful it can with the current senior management the school has.[/p][/quote]Bugstoto you may have been there, but I work at the school currently as well as having attended it as a student under previous headship. The only morale issues are being caused by the constant media attention. suzanne84
  • Score: 9

5:49pm Wed 23 Apr 14

Howardscorton says...

IF......200 people, students, parents and staff calling for an independent
investigation into what is going wrong at Richmond school

IF headteacher being found out trying to hand lucrative contracts
to his mates without proper advertising or tendering process

IF.... the way that jobs are given to family members
of senior staff with no-one else interviewed or jobs advertised

IF terrible 2013 A Level AS results

Don't concern you, then, yes, you probably have nothing to worry about
IF......200 people, students, parents and staff calling for an independent investigation into what is going wrong at Richmond school IF headteacher being found out trying to hand lucrative contracts to his mates without proper advertising or tendering process IF.... the way that jobs are given to family members of senior staff with no-one else interviewed or jobs advertised IF terrible 2013 A Level AS results Don't concern you, then, yes, you probably have nothing to worry about Howardscorton
  • Score: -15

10:55am Thu 24 Apr 14

Bugstoto says...

suzanne84 wrote:
Bugstoto wrote:
suzanne84 wrote:
Perhaps this means an end to the negative attention surrounding a good school. At a time where the teachers and students should be focused on exams, this witch hunt is causing a dip in morale for those who work and study at Richmond School.
The dip in morale has been there virtually since the new head was appointed. His reputation went before him and a massive percentage of the staff have left the school, especially since the record GCSE and A level results 2 years ago. Those staff helped students gain the best results the school has ever seen - banners were made and displayed to celebrate this and yet last year the AS and GCSE results were appalling!! One cause of this is that experienced staff who could find alternative employment voted with their feet over the way the school was being managed - I know - I was there!! Its time people woke up and stopped ignoring what is going on in the school - otherwise things may worsen even further. I really hope that can be avoided but i am not hopeful it can with the current senior management the school has.
Bugstoto you may have been there, but I work at the school currently as well as having attended it as a student under previous headship. The only morale issues are being caused by the constant media attention.
Sorry but that is utter rubbish...I am still in contact with around 200 people who work and are taught at the school through social media....you may be talking about your experiences but you cannot speak for those who are too scared to speak out against the dictatorial way the school is managed. If you are amongst the "chosen few" who have been employed by the current head who is pursuing a "scorched earth" policy then it is highly unlikely you will be being managed in the way that established staff who have worked there many many years are being managed. There is no doubt that staff were let down massively by previous CPD in the school (and some of the current CPD) and many needed upskilling in line with new OFSTED demands, but the way that process has been managed has been diabolical. And in my experience, the negative publicity in the main has been brought about by the senior management at the school - after all ignoring procedures is not accepted by the head if the staff do this - why should he be able to ignore procedures and award his friends contracts?? He has been caught doing this and the media and campaigners will not rest until he has paid the price - this action is merely a drop in the ocean when compared with the blatant nepotism and favouritism that has defined the heads leadership. Fairness and professionalism have been abandoned amongst many of the the senior staff and I believe that unless they are removed things will deteriorate even further. They should do what any decent people would do and resign....that would improve morale overnight. Unfortunately that would take a decent people and their actions thus far have proven that they are anything but. There are reasons why the NUT have had the largest single industrial relations disputes case load for a single school in its history with Richmond School...the senior management. Or perhaps you are not aware of that fact??
[quote][p][bold]suzanne84[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Bugstoto[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]suzanne84[/bold] wrote: Perhaps this means an end to the negative attention surrounding a good school. At a time where the teachers and students should be focused on exams, this witch hunt is causing a dip in morale for those who work and study at Richmond School.[/p][/quote]The dip in morale has been there virtually since the new head was appointed. His reputation went before him and a massive percentage of the staff have left the school, especially since the record GCSE and A level results 2 years ago. Those staff helped students gain the best results the school has ever seen - banners were made and displayed to celebrate this and yet last year the AS and GCSE results were appalling!! One cause of this is that experienced staff who could find alternative employment voted with their feet over the way the school was being managed - I know - I was there!! Its time people woke up and stopped ignoring what is going on in the school - otherwise things may worsen even further. I really hope that can be avoided but i am not hopeful it can with the current senior management the school has.[/p][/quote]Bugstoto you may have been there, but I work at the school currently as well as having attended it as a student under previous headship. The only morale issues are being caused by the constant media attention.[/p][/quote]Sorry but that is utter rubbish...I am still in contact with around 200 people who work and are taught at the school through social media....you may be talking about your experiences but you cannot speak for those who are too scared to speak out against the dictatorial way the school is managed. If you are amongst the "chosen few" who have been employed by the current head who is pursuing a "scorched earth" policy then it is highly unlikely you will be being managed in the way that established staff who have worked there many many years are being managed. There is no doubt that staff were let down massively by previous CPD in the school (and some of the current CPD) and many needed upskilling in line with new OFSTED demands, but the way that process has been managed has been diabolical. And in my experience, the negative publicity in the main has been brought about by the senior management at the school - after all ignoring procedures is not accepted by the head if the staff do this - why should he be able to ignore procedures and award his friends contracts?? He has been caught doing this and the media and campaigners will not rest until he has paid the price - this action is merely a drop in the ocean when compared with the blatant nepotism and favouritism that has defined the heads leadership. Fairness and professionalism have been abandoned amongst many of the the senior staff and I believe that unless they are removed things will deteriorate even further. They should do what any decent people would do and resign....that would improve morale overnight. Unfortunately that would take a decent people and their actions thus far have proven that they are anything but. There are reasons why the NUT have had the largest single industrial relations disputes case load for a single school in its history with Richmond School...the senior management. Or perhaps you are not aware of that fact?? Bugstoto
  • Score: -18

12:57pm Thu 24 Apr 14

Howardscorton says...

To Suzanne84

Are you related to any other staff members?
To Suzanne84 Are you related to any other staff members? Howardscorton
  • Score: -25

4:15pm Thu 24 Apr 14

suzanne84 says...

I'm not, no.
I'm not, no. suzanne84
  • Score: 21

8:01pm Thu 24 Apr 14

Richmond49 says...

The current head has a proven track record of turning schools from poor performers into high performers, this involves massive change and requires committed and highly competent staff at all levels that are prepared to embrace change. Richmond was an average school that is now being driven hard by this team and is progressing rapidly towards being one of the best.

It's a shame that a minority of local people cannot embrace this change and are directing their venom at the head as opposed to those removed from their post by the LEA. To suggest that the management team should resign is very short sighted, they are highly experienced and respected by the Education Authority, do these people really think that it will be possible to find good replacements that will be prepared to work here after such a bitter and twisted vendetta by this newspaper and a few locals?

It is time to stop this nonsense for the sake of the children, and no, I am not related to any member of staff !
The current head has a proven track record of turning schools from poor performers into high performers, this involves massive change and requires committed and highly competent staff at all levels that are prepared to embrace change. Richmond was an average school that is now being driven hard by this team and is progressing rapidly towards being one of the best. It's a shame that a minority of local people cannot embrace this change and are directing their venom at the head as opposed to those removed from their post by the LEA. To suggest that the management team should resign is very short sighted, they are highly experienced and respected by the Education Authority, do these people really think that it will be possible to find good replacements that will be prepared to work here after such a bitter and twisted vendetta by this newspaper and a few locals? It is time to stop this nonsense for the sake of the children, and no, I am not related to any member of staff ! Richmond49
  • Score: 21

8:11pm Wed 30 Apr 14

Bugstoto says...

suzanne84 wrote:
Bugstoto wrote:
suzanne84 wrote:
Perhaps this means an end to the negative attention surrounding a good school. At a time where the teachers and students should be focused on exams, this witch hunt is causing a dip in morale for those who work and study at Richmond School.
The dip in morale has been there virtually since the new head was appointed. His reputation went before him and a massive percentage of the staff have left the school, especially since the record GCSE and A level results 2 years ago. Those staff helped students gain the best results the school has ever seen - banners were made and displayed to celebrate this and yet last year the AS and GCSE results were appalling!! One cause of this is that experienced staff who could find alternative employment voted with their feet over the way the school was being managed - I know - I was there!! Its time people woke up and stopped ignoring what is going on in the school - otherwise things may worsen even further. I really hope that can be avoided but i am not hopeful it can with the current senior management the school has.
Bugstoto you may have been there, but I work at the school currently as well as having attended it as a student under previous headship. The only morale issues are being caused by the constant media attention.
There were no morale issues under previous heads.....that is Exactly my point!!
[quote][p][bold]suzanne84[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Bugstoto[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]suzanne84[/bold] wrote: Perhaps this means an end to the negative attention surrounding a good school. At a time where the teachers and students should be focused on exams, this witch hunt is causing a dip in morale for those who work and study at Richmond School.[/p][/quote]The dip in morale has been there virtually since the new head was appointed. His reputation went before him and a massive percentage of the staff have left the school, especially since the record GCSE and A level results 2 years ago. Those staff helped students gain the best results the school has ever seen - banners were made and displayed to celebrate this and yet last year the AS and GCSE results were appalling!! One cause of this is that experienced staff who could find alternative employment voted with their feet over the way the school was being managed - I know - I was there!! Its time people woke up and stopped ignoring what is going on in the school - otherwise things may worsen even further. I really hope that can be avoided but i am not hopeful it can with the current senior management the school has.[/p][/quote]Bugstoto you may have been there, but I work at the school currently as well as having attended it as a student under previous headship. The only morale issues are being caused by the constant media attention.[/p][/quote]There were no morale issues under previous heads.....that is Exactly my point!! Bugstoto
  • Score: -17

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