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Pressure over Chippenham school's head
Abbeyfield School has been without an official head teacher since the departure of James Fox five months ago
Pressure is mounting on education officials for answers as to the future leadership of Abbeyfield School, five months after the departure of headteacher James Fox.
The school has been headed by assistant headteacher David Nicholson ever since December 2011, when Mr Fox was described by a Wiltshire Council spokesman as being ‘not in his post’.
The Gazette has received an anonymous letter, written on headed paper from Abbeyfield, begging the Gazette to intervene and clarify the situation.
It read: “The school is losing children because he (Fox) is not there. Everything in the school is getting worse...’ The letter continues: “Parents are asking every day about when he (Fox) is coming back. Students want him back. He is respected and missed by everyone.
“Nothing has been proven against Mr Fox – it is five months since the governors at Abbeyfield School took him away from his post and they have found nothing.
“Why won’t they let him come back? The school needs him, the students need him and the parents need him.”
The letter targets the chair of governors, David Sage, specifically claiming that he is refusing to answer people’s questions and that he is ‘turning the school back to how it was before’.
Mr Sage said: “Our number one priority at Abbeyfield School is the students and how we encourage and support all of them to achieve their full potential in an inspiring and secure environment.
“We are achieving excellent results and are extremely busy this term with exams, the Jubilee celebrations and sporting events and activities in anticipation of the 2012 Olympics.
“The review is progressing well and we are all working hard to reach a conclusion as swiftly as possible. We appreciate the patience and understanding from all our students and parents on this matter.”
Wiltshire and town councillor Mark Packard, who represents Pewsham, said: “It is clear that the governors owe an explanation to the pupils, teachers and parents. The governors should be able to give an indication of when this will be resolved. It is not in the interests of the school for this matter to continue unresolved.”
The Gazette understands Mr Fox faces around 40 separate complaints from staff, none of which are of a criminal nature.
Town councillor Mary Fallon, who also represents Pewsham, said she can understand the concerns parents have about the school.
“The children studying there need a stable environment, although I do understand that the staff are doing a wonderful job keeping it all going,” she said.
“However, if I was a parent, I would probably be quite worried too.”