FURTHER UPDATE: Kent County Council has appointed a replacement headteacher at the troubled Simon Langton Girls’ Grammar School in Canterbury, after the resignation of Mrs Jane Robinson. He is Dr Matthew Baxter, current Headteacher of Simon Langton Boys, who is to become Interim Executive Headteacher until August 2018. He has sent a letter to parents, which you will find here, setting out his initial approach to the task. This appears a very welcome development, and should provide space to resolve any outstanding issues and prepare for the future.
UPDATE: The comments at the foot of this article give a wide range of perspectives about the issues.
Jane Robinson, headteacher of Simon Langton Girls’ Grammar School, has resigned following an intensive four month Investigation into her actions by a former Interim Director of Education for the County, Professor Ian Craig, which reported three weeks ago. A KCC Press statement states that ‘Following his review of the findings the Chair of Governors considers that a number of actions should be put in place.’ These actions will no doubt have been instrumental in her decision to go, effective from 30th April.
You will find a copy of Chairman's letter notifying parents here, completely devoid of any thanks for Mrs Robinson's services, a failure echoed by the Press Statement, which speaks volumes. I understand that if she had not resigned, she would be facing disciplinary action. It is not at present clear if there has been any financial settlement, but it is likely according to precedent. Mrs Robinson has been absent from the school for about two weeks, leading to speculation that she has been suspended and it is unclear, although surely unlikely, if she will return to the school before her resignation becomes effective.
Events at Simon Langton Girls’ Grammar School continue apace since my previous article at the beginning of last month. See also article on resignation of Chief Executive of Thinking Schools Academy Trust.
Main details are that the school has now withdrawn its application to become an Academy, a number of governors and the clerk to governors resigned, and the Chairman of Governors has resigned.
Now KCC has appointed five new governors to the GB and a new Chairman has been elected, “bringing with them considerable educational and leadership experience and nationally recognised expertise in school governance”. The new Chairman is Dr Christine Carpenter, who a few years ago was Headteacher of the Sacred Heart High School, a girls’ Catholic School in Hammersmith. Most of the other new governors are recognisable as also being involved with education in Kent. However, there are still massive and ongoing troubles which affect the school.
A letter to parents, “Sent on behalf of Simon Langton Girls’ Grammar School Governing Body and Kent County Council”, so unclear whether the existing Governing Body has actually produced or approved it, sets out the main changes and pledges that “Moving forward the school governors and Kent County Council are determined to ensure that relationships can be restored under a new climate of openness and transparency”.
You will find a superb commentary on the debacle by the local Newspaper, here.
However, matters to be resolved include ....
I make no apology to returning to this subject but events are unfolding so fast it is difficult to keep up.
My previous article written just on Saturday, described events at the two grammar schools, with the CEO of Thinking Schools Academy Trust, flagship school The Rochester Grammar School, being suspended The Times alleging amongst other claims that she snooped on staff email accounts and doctored parts of an external Inspection Report. Although the suspension took place back in April, it wasn’t until The Times went to press that it became public, and today the Trust has issued a statement as a result.
By contrast the Headteacher and Governors at Simon Langton Girls Grammar School in Canterbury, appear to be getting into deeper water daily, with a letter sent out yesterday from Patrick Leeson, Head of KCC’s Education and Young People’s Services Department, requiring a re-run of the Governing Body decision to apply for Academy status last November, on grounds of maladministration. Surely more importantly, the GB should have been focusing with concern the strong evidence of the school’s sharp fall in popularity as explained below, an issue that has been raised by several commentators concerned for the future of the school.
|The story below is growing and growing. You may wish to consult the Facebook Forum to see developing views, or an article in Kent on Sunday which attempts an analyis of the key issues, although these are now so tangled, it is difficult to keep up.|
It was only when I alerted parents on this website in January that the school had applied for academy status that many people learned what was going on and I was contacted by concerned staff to ask if it were true......
Simon Langton Grammar School for Boys is carrying out a consultation (closing date 15th June) into whether it should join the 'super-selective' club of Kent grammar schools. The proposition is that boys who score over 385 in the Kent Test for grammar school admission and who live within 9 miles of the school are given priority. Currently places are allocated to those boys who pass the test (current pass mark 360), who live closest to the school (for 2011 entry this being 5.157 miles).......