Thursday, 15 December 2011

Cardinal Pole silence and questions about new head

A report into allegations that staff at Cardinal Pole school were asked to manipulate pupil assessments and to follow a 'no going backwards' policy will not be made public.

The only people who will see the report will be the chair of governors, Fr David Evans and the school's 'interim' executive headteacher Geraldine Freear who has taken over after the previous headteacher, Katherine Hartigan, resigned.

A spokesperson for the school said: "We are not releasing the report as it may prejudice the actions that the head may wish to take."

The report made three recommendations: “The first recommendation relates to personnel, the second to the school’s assessment procedures and the third to clarifying leadership roles within the school."

The school said: "Staff and students can rest assured that our new executive headteacher is very clear about the recommendations and will be acting on these as a priority. She is an extremely experienced headteacher and the governors have every confidence in her ability to lead this school towards a bright future.”

However it is believed that Freear had already been working with the school since the spring before the manipulation claims were made. Blood and Property has asked the Learning Trust what Freear's role at the school was in this period and whether she had any input on changes to how the school assessed its pupils.

Freear already runs two other schools in North West London and has an impressive track record. But teachers at Cardinal Pole are aware that an employment tribunal found the treatment of a member of staff at one of these schools as "not just inept but wholly unprofessional"  in 2007. A news report of the case described a member of staff being subjected to "months of torment" by senior staff.

Blood and Property asked whether that incident was of any concern to the Learning Trust, the school, the governors or the diocese, bearing in mind the morale of the schools teaching staff? No reply has been received.

(It is hard to tell what kind of leadership school authorities are looking for in their headteachers. Sir Michael Wilshaw, the Hackney superhead who will take over Ofsted in January told the TES: "If anyone says to you that ‘staff morale is at an all-time low’ you will know you are doing something right". Would he apply that in this case?)


7 Dec: headteacher resigns

21 Oct: Official investigation reported by Gazette

13 Sept: Cardinal Pole replies to coursework falsification claims

12 Sept: Hackney teachers urged to falsify coursework marks, claim

2 July: Vote of no confidence in Head

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