Advanced search

Head resigns with only a weeks notice : the joy of Academies

(26 Posts)
TalkinPeace Thu 27-Aug-15 17:12:13

Durand Academy Trust is losing its HT next month.
Pretty unusual for a head to give less than 1 term's notice : if nothing else because the adverts normally have to be posted nice and early ....

I hope the rest of the SLT are good and strong : often not the case with a high profile leader.

sanfairyanne Thu 27-Aug-15 17:14:44

They can get themselves a whole leadership team with his 360 000 salary shock

Fyaral Thu 27-Aug-15 17:14:56

Wonder why the resignation. They may find it difficult to recruit as there is a shortage of heads atm.

Mehitabel6 Thu 27-Aug-15 17:17:19

Very difficult to recruit I would have thought. Lots of school's can't get Heads.

prh47bridge Thu 27-Aug-15 18:45:09

Don't see why you relate this to the school being an academy. Whilst most heads give a decent amount of notice some don't. The head of the state school I attended as a teenager left at short notice and deliberately timed it to make it difficult for them to find a replacement. We went for over a term with the deputy head acting as head.

YeOldeTrout Thu 27-Aug-15 18:56:47

£360k salary & it's hard to recruit?

Fig me, I'll apply grin.

TalkinPeace Thu 27-Aug-15 19:30:23

I link it to the Academy status because the the Charity Commission have been looking into the probity of transactions between the trust and the school

and, as with many Academy trusts, there is deliberate opacity about the underlying accounts

prh47bridge Thu 27-Aug-15 22:07:19

I've had a quick look at the 20+ pages of the financial statement in Durand Academy Trust's latest accounts. They don't appear deliberately opaque to me. They look pretty normal for a charity of this size, if anything giving more information than most.

The accounts of Durand Education Trust, the charity being investigated, give less information. I still wouldn't go so far as to call them deliberately opaque. Many similar sized charities give less information. But they could be more informative.

For what it is worth the investigation is not into the "probity of transactions between the trust and the school". It is primarily into the potential lack of separation between the management of the two trusts and whether or not this has led to mismanagement or misconduct. You may regard this as nitpicking and I wouldn't necessarily disagree. I can be somewhat pedantic at times.

TalkinPeace Thu 27-Aug-15 22:10:23

I audit charities
I know what they hide in their accounts
making stuff vanish is part of my work
so I know where to look to see if my co-accountants have done the same
related party transactions are a doddle to hide
especially the non arms length ones
Durand is no worse than the others though

llhj Fri 28-Aug-15 20:19:49

More disgusting behaviour from academies. When are we all going to wake up from the government sleepwalking us all into these nonsense establishments.

ElementaryMyDear Sun 30-Aug-15 16:00:13

With every respect, prh, what happened when you were teenager is of very limited relevance to what happens now, and it simply is the case that a disproportionate amount of academies have had a very rocky ride with regard to staffing. In fact, the only time I have known a state maintained head to give short notice was when they were being forced out because the school was becoming an academy.

PiqueABoo Mon 31-Aug-15 21:04:32

Durand is a special case that has been in the news quite a bit. However they apparently spent a fortune (relative to me not their earnings) on some serious libel lawyers a couple of years ago so... ermm.. the bank holiday weather a bit rubbish wasn't it?

Stillunexpected Wed 02-Sep-15 17:59:13

If you read the story in the original link it says that he had told the Governors several months ago and they have been in ongoing discussions so it's not really accurate to say that he resigned at a week's notice. He may have given notice months ago but the parent body were only made aware of it now.

TalkinPeace Wed 02-Sep-15 18:02:00

I'd like to see that Charity minutes that prove it : just that historical revisionism is utterly rife in charities
backdated minutes are a serious problem in my work.

Needmoresleep Thu 03-Sep-15 11:24:58

It is easy to sit in Hampshire and see things in black and white. But closer to, it is a lot more blurry. Durand has been a lifeline for some bright children from local estates. Admittedly in part because bright children in other local schools transfer to them because they provide great outcomes, whether it is places at high achieving selectives, or bursaries to local private schools. And it is true to say that there have been long-standing questions about the commercial aspects, and about that salary. But the main point is that they are perceived as doing well for their children.

I worry about an approach which has, say, the futures of deprived children sacrificed at the alter of political correctness. Durand should be scrutinised, perhaps to see what it is doing right, as well as what it may be doing wrong. However to put it all down to its Academy status is simplistic.

nlondondad Fri 04-Sep-15 11:18:02

On the suggestion that the Trust has known for a while, but there has been a delay in telling the parents. Well if this had been an a community school and NOT an Academy then the news the Head was leaving would have had to have been given to the Governing Body, as in a community school it is the Governors who have the sole power to appoint, or remove, or accept the resignation of, a head. And by law there are elected parent governors on the Governing Body.

In an Academy the Governors are just a committee with no say over who the Head is, no control of the budget, they dont even choose their own chair. Thats all done by the Academy Trust. Who THEY are depends on how the academy is set up. Some academies have been set up with parent representatives on the trust board, but a lot (including Durand?) do not.

InimitableJeeves Wed 09-Sep-15 10:39:15

And of course the minutes of state maintained school governing body meetings have to be published.

nlondondad Wed 09-Sep-15 11:05:00


Cuckoo Hall (CHAT) in Enfield have also spent a lot on lawyers I understand. Their main firm seems to be Hill Dickenson, who have a specialism in "online reputation management"... The weather is not so nice today, dont you think?

prh47bridge Wed 09-Sep-15 12:50:37

And of course the minutes of state maintained school governing body meetings have to be published

No, they have to be provided in response to FoI requests. They do not have to be published. The same requirement applies to academies.

nlondondad Wed 09-Sep-15 16:16:18

I am surprised to hear this prh47 for two reasons:-

1.Community School Governing Body meetings, which under Local Management of Schools make all the really important decisions the head does not make, are held in public. And whatever the legal position you will find that many schools publish minutes, not always I fear, up to date, on their website. In community schools in Islington it is the universal practice that minutes, once no longer in draft, can be obtained on request to the school secretary.

2. The important body in a Multi Academy Trust is the Trust Board and not the local governing bodies and, to my certain knowledge Academy Trusts can, and do, refuse access to Trust Board minutes, even when made as an FOI. Also the Trust Board does not meet in public. In fact getting up to date information as to who is on the Board of an Academy Trust can be difficult.

NationalTrustLadyGardens Wed 09-Sep-15 16:31:49

It does not have to be as formal as a FOI request. The School Governance (Roles, Procedures and Allowances) (England) Regulations 2013, which apply to maintained schools, say in chapter 15:

The governing body must, as soon as reasonably practicable, make available for inspection by any interested person, a copy of??

(a)the agenda for every meeting;

(b)the signed minutes of every such meeting; and

(c)any report or other paper considered at any such meeting.

NationalTrustLadyGardens Wed 09-Sep-15 16:35:14

However nlondon dad, Governing Body meetings are not held 'in public' - the same regulations as above in part 4, state who has the right to attend - basically anyone not on the GB can only attend with the agreement of the GB.

NationalTrustLadyGardens Wed 09-Sep-15 16:57:28

I do think the academy aspect is a red herring here. Maintained school heads do leave at short notice (they may technically give the statutory amount of notice but it can be agreed that s/he is not required to attend work) and it is perfectly possible that parents would not know officially for some time. If the GB was told and this was minuted then these would be confidential minutes - the regulations quoted above go on to say that minutes can be confidential if they concern an individual. Even in the case of non-confidential minutes, these do not have to be made available until they are signed off at the next meeting. The GB is only required legally to meet 3 times a year (most meet more often though) so this could mean that it is some months before those minutes are available.

I am no fan of academies but much of the anti-academy angst ignores what already goes on in maintained schools, or even it it doesn't happen, it is perfectly possible that it could happen.

Ta1kinPeace Wed 09-Sep-15 18:01:38

Its usually pretty hard to hide that a head is leaving though as the advert to find a replacement has to go out in good time ......

prh47bridge Wed 09-Sep-15 18:46:22

Community School Governing Body meetings, which under Local Management of Schools make all the really important decisions the head does not make, are held in public

Not always. There is no legal requirement for them to be held in public. It is up to the governors to decide whether or not to admit the public to their meetings.

Academy Trusts can, and do, refuse access to Trust Board minutes, even when made as an FOI

There are only limited grounds on which they can do so. The same grounds also apply to governors meetings. It is, of course, true that some of the exemptions are more likely to apply to minutes of a Trust board meeting than minutes of a governors meeting.

In fact getting up to date information as to who is on the Board of an Academy Trust can be difficult

You can always get an up to date list from Companies House or, free of charge, from various websites such as

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now