Parents told head quit … by text

Well I’ve heard of disappearing headteachers, but the Southend Standard reports a bizarre way for parents to find out about a quitting headteacher which has caused outrage.

Parents claim they have been left in the dark after a long-standing headteacher of a school in Wickford suddenly left halfway through term.

Just weeks after Ofsted inspectors deemed management at the Bromfords School as not doing enough to turn the school around, headteacher Marian Spinks announced her departure yesterday. The Echo understands an email was sent to staff in the morning, while confused parents got a text message detailing a change at the helm later in the afternoon.

Ofsted officials who visited in the summer urged the school to make immediate improvements, and deputy head Martin Coulson has moved into the top job temporarily, to be supported by a team of “education experts”. But a parent, who did not want to be named, said: “We were kept in the dark and I’m not happy finding out via our local newspaper when the parents should have been informed first.” Another parent, who also wanted to remain anonymous, added: “The first I heard about it was on the Echo’s Facebook page. It would have been nice to know.”

Mrs Spinks is the second headteacher in the borough to leave in a week, with Woodlands School in Basildon also having a reshuffle, as revealed in the Echo.

A statement from Essex County Council praised Mrs Spinks’ efforts in her four years at the school, but revealed that while the school will begin the search for a new head in 2014, it may be as long as September before someone permanent is in place. The statement said: “Mr Coulson has taught at Bromfords for 20 years and is held in very high regard by staff, students and governors. Mr Coulson will not be acting simply as a caretaker, but will be working proactively to move the school forward. We are keen to ensure the school moves rapidly to an improved Ofsted assessment and are confident the changes we are making will ensure this will be achieved as quickly as possible. The team drafted in to help Mr Coulson are Richard Westergreen-Thorne, a retired headteacher with a track record in school improvement, and Christian Cavanagh, headteacher at Debden Park School, in Loughton.”

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