Angry school governor resigns as Abbeyfield School head's departure finalised (From The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald)
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Angry school governor resigns as Abbeyfield School head's departure finalised
School governor Bren Jones has resigned in protest over the secrecy surrounding the departure of Abbeyfield headteacher James Fox, which was confirmed on Friday.
A letter issued by Wiltshire Council and the board of governors stated Mr Fox would not be returning to the school and his employment will be terminated by mutual consent from August 2012.
In the meantime the Chippenham school will continue to be led by acting head David Nicholson. He stepped in after it was announced by Wiltshire Council in December that Mr Fox ‘was no longer at his desk’.
Wiltshire Council has come under fire for refusing to reveal the reasons behind Friday’s announcement and retired Wiltshire College lecturer Mr Jones, who was an Abbeyfield governor for just over two years, said very few of the governors have any knowledge about what really went on.
“I am resigning out of pure frustration at the secrecy of what has gone on,” he said.
“None of us have been told anything at all. There are serious questions that need to be raised here. Why has this taken so long? How can it have taken six months? Why aren’t we being given any answers?”
Mr Jones said Mr Fox would be greatly missed.
“Abbeyfield has lost a uniquely talented headteacher, and people need to ask the question ‘Why?’,” he said.
“What’s more, it seems like no one is thinking of the most important thing of all in this – the pupils. This is what we’re all here for – the governors, the staff, and the head.”
It is alleged that an anonymous whistleblower sent a letter to the head of governors, David Sage, who has been in his post for ten years.
However, the contents of the letters were not revealed to the other governors, and instead Wiltshire Council was consulted directly.
Mr Jones said: “It is absolutely in the public interest to know what is going on. I must stress that the staff are doing an absolutely fantastic job under very difficult circumstances, but parents and pupils have been failed by the secrecy of these processes.
“It may well fall to the parents now to force the issue and fight to have this information made public.”
It is believed Mr Fox signed an agreement upon leaving to keep the processes leading up until his departure confidential. Wiltshire Council representatives have refused to release any more information about the issue, including why Mr Fox was suspended in the first place.
Mr Sage said in a statement issued yesterday: “We will be looking to appoint a permanent headteacher in due course but in the meantime we have full faith in the leadership shown by David Nicholson as acting head. Indeed the school is poised to celebrate its best ever results in GCSE and the excellent teaching at the school has been recognised by the official body SSAT which gives Abbeyfield national recognition for being one of the top 10 per cent of schools at adding value to their students’ achievement at GCSE.”
Mr Fox is believed to have faced scores of complaints from teachers about his management style.
But parents have flocked to the Gazette’s website to comment.
One wrote: “The way that the school had been turned around under Mr Fox was the main reason that I put my children into Abbeyfield.
“I think the majority of parents were very pleased with the way that the school was run under him. What a shame that our opinions were not taken into consideration.”
Another said: “All through Mr Fox’s suspension we have been given no information as to why he has not been allowed to carry on as headmaster and no answers have been forthcoming when either governors and the acting head has been asked.”