Governors' concern over head's actions and lack of backing from local authority led to resignation, papers show (From The Northern Echo)
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Governors' concern over head's actions and lack of backing from local authority led to resignation, papers show
Updated 10:36am Monday 12th May 2014 in News
CUTTING THE RIBBON: Lord Coe, pictured officially opening Richmond School, he is pictured with headteacher Ian Robertson
RICHMOND School's headteacher and former governors repeatedly clashed over key decisions on the school's future, documents reveal.
Papers show that headmaster Ian Robertson believed he did not need governors' authority for Richmond to become the lead school in a Challenge Partners hub - a group of schools working together to drive up standards.
The documents reveal that Mr Robertson entered into the hub project without the governing body's approval.
Governors had concerns that Richmond School did not have the capacity to lead the hub of five schools when its own recent AS results showed "significant failure rates" and concerns about the sustainability of improvements in GCSE results.
The governors said they had agreed to take part in the Challenge Partners project with the goal of getting access to outstanding schools.
However, they had doubts about the benefits of the local hub scheme when none of the schools involved - Richmond School, Redcar Academy, Norton Academy, Woodham School and Easingwold School - were outstanding and all appeared to be in a more "vulnerable" position than Richmond.
Governors were also worried that the head's involvement in the scheme - and decision to become a senior partner in the Challenge Partners organisation - would require substantial management time away from school and might adversely impact on standards and results at the school.
"Caveats with regard to the arrangements, at the very least, would be necessary to ensure outcomes for our school were not affected, and if they were, termination arrangements agreed," former chair Mrs Skeoch wrote in one report.
Governors had similar concerns after the school became a strategic partner - and the head became chair of the board of directors - of the Swaledale Teaching Alliance - an alliance of 17 primary schools in the area - without discussing and agreeing the move with governors first.
The documents show that, while governors backed school-to-school collaboration, they were again worried the move could impact on Richmond School results.
The governing body wrote to the county council asking for advice on both schemes and were told governors should approve the headmaster's changes.
An earlier dispute, already revealed by the Echo, centred on the head's appointment of a project manager and selection of a preferred contractor to build a £750,000 sports pavilion.
Governors said the head's actions breached local authority procurement processes.
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