Governors' concern over head's actions and lack of backing from local authority led to resignation, papers show

Governors' concern over head's actions and lack of backing from local authority led to resignation, papers show

CUTTING THE RIBBON: Lord Coe, pictured officially opening Richmond School, he is pictured with headteacher Ian Robertson

GOVERNOR WALK-OUT: Richmond School, where governors believed the headmaster, acted without authority

First published in News
Last updated

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.

Comments (3)

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7:46am Mon 12 May 14

Bugstoto says...

Staff, students and parents were never consulted over the challenge partners decision either.....it was simply "dropped" on everybody, the decision being made by senior management alone - presumably the head on his own as the other senior staff hand picked by the head would never have been allowed to even propose such an initiative. It is yet another example of the personal empire building that was and still is going on in the school, taking the focus away from management of the school the senior management are paid extremely well to manage. They have been found out taking decisions both financial and non-financial, that they had no authority to take - ignoring other stakeholders, placing extra workload on the staff and taking time and effort away from the students they were supposed to be serving. Class sizes in the 6th form were also doubled without consultation, effectively doubling the workload of those staff teaching those classes overnight!! The senior management should ALL be shown the door and the school start again with new senior management - properly appointed - not hand picked by the head. How can it be that one part time teacher's classes achieved amongst the worst GCSE results the school has ever seen and then is subsequently promoted to a senior position in the school??? Unfair, unethical, illegal and against NYCC recruitment procedures - and there are many many more such cases, allegedly!!! Time for a proper investigation into the appointments the head has made now with total transparency. Everyone who worked there when these appointments were made knew who was getting the jobs before the successful "candidates" were selected!!!
Staff, students and parents were never consulted over the challenge partners decision either.....it was simply "dropped" on everybody, the decision being made by senior management alone - presumably the head on his own as the other senior staff hand picked by the head would never have been allowed to even propose such an initiative. It is yet another example of the personal empire building that was and still is going on in the school, taking the focus away from management of the school the senior management are paid extremely well to manage. They have been found out taking decisions both financial and non-financial, that they had no authority to take - ignoring other stakeholders, placing extra workload on the staff and taking time and effort away from the students they were supposed to be serving. Class sizes in the 6th form were also doubled without consultation, effectively doubling the workload of those staff teaching those classes overnight!! The senior management should ALL be shown the door and the school start again with new senior management - properly appointed - not hand picked by the head. How can it be that one part time teacher's classes achieved amongst the worst GCSE results the school has ever seen and then is subsequently promoted to a senior position in the school??? Unfair, unethical, illegal and against NYCC recruitment procedures - and there are many many more such cases, allegedly!!! Time for a proper investigation into the appointments the head has made now with total transparency. Everyone who worked there when these appointments were made knew who was getting the jobs before the successful "candidates" were selected!!! Bugstoto
  • Score: 16

9:58am Mon 12 May 14

Howardscorton says...

surely the covering up and ignoring the concerns of parents, students and staff has to end now.
I notice that this onlne article is condensed from the two articles in the printed Northern Echo - it is well worth buying the paper itself for much more information. (12/05/2014)
surely the covering up and ignoring the concerns of parents, students and staff has to end now. I notice that this onlne article is condensed from the two articles in the printed Northern Echo - it is well worth buying the paper itself for much more information. (12/05/2014) Howardscorton
  • Score: -1

4:21pm Mon 12 May 14

Howardscorton says...

Monday pm. Regarding my previous post saying that there is more information in the printed N.Echo - update to say that now all that is in the paper is here online.
Monday pm. Regarding my previous post saying that there is more information in the printed N.Echo - update to say that now all that is in the paper is here online. Howardscorton
  • Score: -5

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