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Displaying items by tag: St Thomas

 Update 28th November: To few people's surprise surely, Mrs Aquilina's actions have led to a proposal for the KCSP to bring St Thomas Catholic Primary School into a cluster of West Kent schools. See below for details. 

It was announced today that the Headteacher of St Thomas’ Catholic Primary School in Sevenoaks, Mrs Claudia Aquilina, has been dismissed for gross misconduct by her employers, the Kent Catholic Schools Partnership. This follows her suspension from the post earlier this year on June 17th. The decision to suspend was highly controversial amongst some Catholic parents as she had a loyal following who thought her wonderful. The record 89 comments attached to my initial article, which with its predecessor has now been read over thirty thousand times, indicate the depth of feeling she aroused, both positive and negative.

St Thomas Sevenoaks 2

Over the many years I have been commenting on Kent and Medway education matters, I have seen a number of headteachers removed from their posts, but cannot recall any dismissed as bluntly as this, indicating the seriousness of the case.

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After a period of some five months of being ‘unexpectedly away from his duties’, Clive Webster CEO of the Kent Catholic Schools Partnership (KCSP) has resigned with effect from 23rd September, according to Companies House, although a news item on the Trust website states that ‘he has decided to step down at the end of December 2020’. His name has been expunged from any mention on the Trust website apart from his resignation statement and replaced as the lead introduction, which is now fronted by Mike Powis, Chair of the Trust Board.

KCSP Logo

I previously wrote a lengthy news article about the Trust in June, analysing the key issues that may have led to his gardening leave or suspension from duties at the time, and there has been no further information about the situation forthcoming since then. Understandably, the Trust has remained very well-disciplined and tight-lipped about the matter, which may well have covered some delicate negotiations. The nature of the resignation statement below suggests it is a departure on agreed terms. 

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Tuesday, 01 September 2020 19:59

Further Trauma at St Thomas' Catholic Primary School

Update 16th November: Article Re Mrs Aquina's dismissal. 

The Chair of the Kent Catholic Schools Partnership wrote to parents of St Thomas Catholic Primary School on 17th June to inform them that the headteacher, Mrs Aquilina, was being given ‘special leave until the end of the academic year’. This followed a safeguarding incident which created considerable concern and debate, the absence being widely and reasonably assumed to be a formal suspension from her responsibilities because of the safeguarding issue.

On July 25th, at the end of the summer term, he wrote again ‘We have now reached the end of the academic year and can confirm that Mrs Aquilina will be returning to her role of Headteacher at St Thomas’ Primary on 1 September 2020…. A meeting with parents and carers of St Thomas’ will be held at the start of the new academic year’

Yesterday, 1st September, Mr Powis, the Chair of KCSP, wrote again to parents, to inform them that Mrs Aquilina will now be ‘on special leave for the foreseeable future’. The letter unsurprisingly contains no further explanation of the change of direction and no mention of the meeting for parents promised in the previous letter. This may be because of legal issues. 

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