This follows an extensive period of open warfare, on the one side by a group of parents, intent on exposing evidence about allegations of maladministration, unlawful action, financial irregularity, and bullying of staff by the HT, generating over twenty grievances taken out by teachers to KCC amongst a total of some 200 complaints about a wide variety of issues also including the large turnover of staff, and straightforward poor management. KCC was clearly unhappy with events at the school, hence the commissioning of the Investigation and a previous verdict of maladministration over the aborted application to become an Academy (see below and previous articles). You will find some of these allegations on the Simon Langton Parents Forum, although many were personal and not considered appropriate for the public domain. On the other side were the HT, several senior staff, and a group of governors who either denied the allegations, conceding no fault, or completely stonewalled them.
The proposed KCC action which triggered the resignation became public on Friday when a member of staff who was aware of it foolishly talked about the decision, which was then reported on Facebook. It is unclear whether the Governing Body endorsed taking disciplinary action as Mrs Robinson had several supporters amongst a divided membership that also saw a large turnover, and has had three Chairmen over the past two years. Any such discussion now becomes irrelevant with the resignation, which has been accepted. ,
Back in May last year I wrote: ‘What is clear is that there is an unprecedented breakdown of relationships between many parents and staff on one side, and the Headteacher and Governors of the school on the other. I cannot see how the school can go on without massive change internally, and it is going to take a long time for its reputation to heal. Without passing judgement, I cannot see how the headteacher can continue in post, having completely lost the confidence of so many parts of the community.’ The subsequent ten months have unbelievably seen a further decline with too many of those in authority prepared to stand on the sidelines.
We know there were over 200 complaints considered by Professor Craig, including a large number relating to alleged staff bullying. In the absence of publication of the Report or a summary, I would expect a response to be provided for each of these individually, at the very least confirming their validity or otherwise. So many people have been hurt and allowed to have been hurt by those in authority, in some cases this surely amounts to abuse. This cannot be brushed under the carpet; the victims are entitled to be heard.
The Governing Body is clearly complicit in many of the events that have taken place. They worked with the headteacher on the Academy application, a process that generated false information and required dubious financial juggling to secure the Academy Order, as explained here. The failures of the process were heavily criticised by KCC, surely itself a warning that something was going badly wrong at the school. The GB shot down so many warnings from parents and staff unquestioningly defending the headteacher even when it was evident she was out of step. Mrs Robinson’s letter of resignation states ‘I have been under a great deal of pressure over the course of the past year with the ongoing public challenges to my professionalism’. Indeed, there have been many such challenges from parents determined to establish the truth of what was going on, but on the surface none from a Governing Body who appear to have utterly failed to carry out their responsibilities by offering challenge. I exempt from this criticism those few members of the Governing Body who saw what was happening and tried to fulfil their obligation of standing up for the school. Some could not take it and resigned feeling they were unable to make a difference. Others struggled on, in spite of reported pressure to buckle in. To all those who tried to stop the tide from an impossible position, parents should be very appreciative.
‘Kent County Council will be supporting the Governing Body to ensure that there are robust interim leadership arrangements put in place until a new Headteacher is appointed’. The only way this can be achieved is by looking for an interim leader from outside the school in order to secure the confidence of the staff, for the current Senior Leadership Team is surely too tarnished by its connection with and support of Mrs Robinson.