You are on page 1of 18

Minutes of meeting at Weyfield Primary Academy Thursday 9th January 2014, 6.30p.m.

Attendees: Amanda Godfrey (AG): David Linsell (DL): Helen Smith (HS): Director of Communications, TKAT Interim Headteacher, TKAT/ Weyfield Primary Academy Vice Chair of Governors, Weyfield Primary Academy

Minutes taken by Sarah Jones, Weyfield Primary Academy Introduction by Helen Smith. Mrs Smith explained that the purpose of the meeting was for 2 reasons: 1. To meet Mr D. Linsell who would be Interim Headteacher of WPA 2. To meet TKAT representative Mrs Amanda Godfrey HS stated that Mr Simon Wood (SW) did resign at the end of last term and that anything pertaining to this resignation was confidential and as a consequence was not open to discussion (a parent left the room at this point). HS asked that questions be asked in a civilised manner when the time came for questions then handed over to Amanda Godfrey. AG introduced herself as TKATs representative. She read a prepared speech: “TKAT is very aware of the significant impact of Mr Woods’s resignation on the Weyfield Community. Each of you in the room will have your own emotions in respect of him leaving. Some will be angry, some upset, some disappointed, some feeling frustrated or let down by the organisations by some or all of the people and organisations involved in the running of the school. The purpose of the meeting is to establish how we are going to move forwards together without Mr Wood as Mr Wood will not be returning to the school as Headteacher. We would like to take this opportunity to recognise the contribution that Mr Wood made to the school and to wish him well for the future. OFSTED in the most recent report commented on the fact that parents and carers overwhelmingly supported the school and changes. TKAT ask that parents continue to work with them to ensure that the Weyfield Way continues to progress and we carry on implementing and putting in place the vision that Mr Wood and the Governors have set. The school has an able and committed staff, some of whom are in the room, and they have learnt from Mr Wood and are in a good position to carry on the work started. At the centre of all this are the children and we must not lose sight of this fact. Together we need to do all we can to minimise the effect of this unavoidable change. To this end, we are supportive of Mr Wood attending the school in the near future to say his goodbyes to the children. This is very important to enable the school community to move forward with Mr Linsell as the interim Head. Mr Linsell will remain in post until a replacement is appointed. Your Governors will be involved in the recruitment of the new Headteacher together with TKAT. We will be offering additional support to the school to ensure that this Year’s Y6 KS2 results improve and all the signs we have at the moment are that this should be the case.

1 15 January 2014

We need to be sure that the good things that are happening at Weyfield of which there are many, translate into better results and our focus will be on all children making progress at every stage in their education. We recognise that the better performing schools have strong relationships between the Head, staff, parents and Governors and we ask you to continue to give the support to the school that you have clearly shown to ensure that Weyfield remains a Good school. You should be proud of your passion for excellent education. We share that passion and are committed to every child making the best progress they can achieving their full potential and enjoying their educational experience in a safe and caring environment.” Questions: 1. Did you manage to find Weyfield without Satnav as TKAT seem unaware of where we are, seeing as they are based in Kent. 2. Is it not the case that the KS2 results already on course to be better than last year? This is related almost exclusively to what has been happening in the school up to this point. All TKAT are going to do will be to benefit from the hard work of others done until this point. AG: TKAT are committed to continuing the work done until this point. 3. How long is Mrs Barnes (KB) staying as she had an email written on 7/1/14 saying that Bushy Hill are still expecting her? The parents feel that KB is needed. Question responded to later by Mr Linsell. 4. Comment recorded that yes the parents are proud of Weyfield as they are proud of SW. 5. Parent commented that her daughter was one of the Y6 children and she felt that they were under graded at Weyfield as her daughter has been instantly re-graded as she began secondary school. The parent believes that her child was doing v. well at Weyfield. This comment was confirmed by several other parents. AG: TKAT takes this comment on board. 6. Parent concerned by the statement that that “together we can ensure Weyfield remains a good school”. Weyfield was rated as a Good school the day before TKAT took over. We were on track to Outstanding with Mr Wood. Weyfield does not wish to remain a Good school we wish to be Outstanding. Concern that TKAT seem to have let go of the one man capable of taking us on that journey. AG: Confirmed that Weyfield is a Good school and as with every school within TKAT we wish to move to Good or Outstanding as quickly as possible. 7. Parental comment that we got to Good without TKAT. We were on our way to Outstanding and you have taken away or let go of the talent that was going to get us to Outstanding. 8. As a parent of a Y6 child from last year I can personally say that my son would never have done as well as he did without the support that was put in place from the January following Mr Wood’s appointment. This is in no way a criticism of the amazing staff in place who have done an amazing job. However, none of the children in the year group wanted to be in

2 15 January 2014

school before Mr Wood was appointed. From the minute that Mr Wood was appointed this changed. The children were full of excitement about their school day and what they were getting up to. They wanted to be in school. She made the point that it was not the fault of Mr Wood that the children did not improve as fast as well as they should have done. She believed that they had made amazing progress to get the results that they did from the starting point that they in such a short period of time. 9. With the shortage of Headteachers, particularly male Headteachers in this particular age group, surely Simon should have been seen as a high performing talent? Question - what steps did TKAT take to retain Simon? AG: SW chose to resign. The circumstances around his resignation are confidential. 10. What steps did TKAT take to stop him resigning? Did you have a meeting with him? AG: Anything to do with the circumstances of SW resignation is confidential. 11. We are not asking why he resigned but what steps you took to stop him resigning? What do you do as an organisation to retain/ foster talent? AG: There is a talent programme within TKAT and they grow their own talent. 12. You cannot grow a Headteacher. AG: You develop the talent you have within schools. 13. Why did you accept his resignation and why, if he did resign did he not have to do at least 6 weeks notice. AG: Any conversations that took place around SW’s resignation are confidential and cannot be discussed at this meeting. 14. Why did you still not then ensure that he had to complete at least half a terms notice? HS: This is confidential. 15. So any of our teachers can leave at any point and do not have to provide reasons, simply saying it is confidential is enough? HS: There are other issues to consider such as data protection, confidentiality, etc. 16. What about the Freedom of Information Act? AG: No response. 17. This does not explain to the children the reasons for SW’s departure. The school is already going downhill. People are already driving down school close. TKAT have taken away the

3 15 January 2014

one thing that made the school brilliant. It will go downhill and TKAT will be responsible for this. 18. Relating to TKAT’s own performance. You have taken over a number of schools recently. How many of those schools have you increased the OFSTED grading of? AG: We will find out this information for you. There are 2 things to look at when considering the performance of TKAT schools. There is not just the grading to consider as OFSTED does not happen all the time, but there is also the exam results. To give the correct picture, you will need to know what schools have improved. 19. You understand that for parents to be trusting of TKAT we will need to see that they have had an impact as a powerful organisation? AG: There is evidence of improvement. 20. You cannot judge a school by its exam results alone. There is a list online of TKAT schools and most of them are failing. AG: TKAT will provide the figures for this. 21. If it was SW’s personal choice to resign then why could he not say goodbye to the children before Christmas? Clearly he must have resigned before the Xmas term ended. The children are devastated that he has gone and could not say goodbye and do not understand this. Why were parents not notified either? AG: SW is coming to say goodbye. A letter was written by SW dated the 20th December and that was to be put on the website and copied to the parents but ultimately SW felt it was too close to the end of term and he was in the process of having conversations with TKAT and making his decisions. He took the decision that he did not want to upset the children. SW felt that this was the best decision for the children. 22. Was this not best for TKAT ensuring that the parental discontent did not start before Christmas? AG: This was Simons decision. I can say this honestly. 23. My child no longer wishes to attend this school. SW coming back in again is going to break their hearts over again. 24. If, TKAT are saying that they had remove SW as a consequence of the data, if the new Headteacher does not get the required grades, will he also be removed so that the children will suffer again? 25. SW was an excellent Headteacher who did everything for the school. TKAT are taking the credit for the work SW did. It is not fair to expect the children to perform after all that has happened. 26. In my opinion, the reputation of this school has gone up. When my 1st born was offered this school in 2006 we refused the place because the reputation of the school was rubbish. We

4 15 January 2014

did not want to send our child here. I drove daily to Onslow School to avoid him attending this school. Only since SW made a personal appearance at a fete did I decide that I wanted my son to come to this school. SW gave a positive appearance and vibe about Weyfield. Now you have taken this away from the Community. 27. Simon committed to spending 7 years at the school yet he has left. AG: The school is still here. 28. But you have taken away what led the school to how good it was. AG: Simon resigned. 29. I do not agree that he willingly resigned. I do not believe that one parent in this room believes that SW willingly resigned. SW should have been able to attend this meeting to represent himself. We have only been an Academy for a matter of months and all was fine before this. AG: Your perception is your perception and I cannot change that. 30. Are we all wrong? If you are making it better for the children then why are you taking away the thing that they like? AG TKAT are not taking away anything SW resigned. 31. If SW did resign then why is his own father publicly campaigning to have him reinstated? AG: I cannot comment on SW’s resignation. Representative from the NUT stood up and introduced herself. She asked a number of questions. TKAT have requested that these be removed from these minutes as it is not thought to be appropriate to include them at a parent/ carer meeting. TKAT wish to reassure interested parties that they are speaking to the Unions. 32. Are the rest of the staff jobs safe or are you growing teachers as well as Headmasters? AG: TKAT staff will be developed along with all staff in TKAT. 33. So TKAT staff are to be developed? Wasn’t SW a member of TKAT staff? AG: no response. 34. What about Teaching Assistants? are their jobs safe? If you are saying is that they are all TKAT staff, are their jobs safe? AG: well…. No. 35. So their jobs are not safe?

5 15 January 2014


In relation to your comments, we will make sure that the meeting takes place with the HR director. 36. Are staff safe – yes or no as we need every member of staff in this school?


There is no intention to change anything at this moment in time. Confirmed that this is what was said to her and the Chair of Governors when they met with TKAT HR over the Christmas period. She reiterated that this was what the Governing body is there for - to take a strategic look at the school and the children. We need stability in this school. 37. But you took the stability and will not give us a reason why?



We need stability now. 38. We need confirmation that you will keep the staff.


This is why KB is here and the secondment has been revoked. 39. Why then are Bushy Hill still expecting KB this term?


The Governing body previously agreed that KB could be released as we had a strong leadership team. 40. But with SW gone the leadership would not be present.


SW & KB were supported by a very strong leadership team who remain in place. 41. Under sections 2 & 4 of the burgundy book, a HT required to give a terms notice on resigning their post. If SW resigned in December, he is contractually obliged to serve a terms notice i.e. until 30th April. Therefore can we assume that he is either on gardening leave or subject to the rule in section 4 covering gross misconduct.


The answer to that question is confidential. 42. As parents should we be concerned as the implication is that if gross misconduct is involved? Are the police involved? What has he done?


it is confidential. 43. We have a right to know. Yes or no are the police involved?


No the police are not involved. As previously stated, the actual circumstances around SWs departure are confidential. 44. Was it gross misconduct? Are our children safe in this school?


Your children are safe in this school.

6 15 January 2014

45. If the police are involved we have every right to know. HS: Your children are safe in the school. 46. It took a while to answer the question if the police are involved and the parents have the right to know if anything has happened to their children. AG: Absolutely not. 47. So why does SW not have the right to be here. AG: We need to respect SWs position. 48. SW would answer these questions himself if he was not subject to a gagging order. You are not providing any answers to any of the questions. 49. If SW on gardening leave and an interim Head in position, is the school budget being used to pay 2 Headteacher salaries. Is this impacting the children’s financial situation. Is the budget being used to pay 2 people? AG: I am unable to comment on that. 50. Under the freedom of information act we are entitled to find out the answer to that information. Surely the finance/ budget is not subject to the restrictions around SWs resignation. This is about TKAT handling anything of this nature – this is not about SW. If a teacher went on gardening leave, would TKAT pay 2 people simultaneously and would this come out of that schools budget? We are not using Weyfield as an example – this is a hypothetical question. AG: No response. 51. Why was a letter not sent before Xmas so we could have prepared our children over Xmas so we now have very upset children because he has and we as parents also do not understand why he has gone? AG: We know why he has gone – he resigned. 52. How can you expect us as parents to have any confidence in your academy when you cannot answer a single one of our questions? AG: These are questions that we cannot answer. I would not want to give you false information. 53. Who is paying the two salaries? Is TKAT paying out of its own pockets? AG: That is not a straight forward question and I would not want to give you a misleading answer.

7 15 January 2014

54. Perhaps we could have a meeting when you could answer our questions in the future? Perhaps with SW in attendance? AG: SW will not be addressing you and answering any of your questions. A lot of what you are saying to me is comment not question. Some of your questions I am unable to answer, some I do not wish to give a wrong answer. 55. Could we not revert to being a school then we would not have to deal with these issues? 56. I move that we propose a vote of no confidence in TKAT. HS: Requested that any teaching staff leave the room explaining that any vote needs to be just parents to avoid jeopardising the teachers/ staff. 57. But if they parents as well as staff, surely they have a right to be present and to vote? HS: They are employed by TKAT. If you are a parent as well as a member of staff then the decision is yours as to whether to stay. I can advise you to that it is your decision. This is the same as with Governing body meetings, etc. The Union has advised that they leave. 58. I am devastated with SW leaving, my son is devastated but equally I want the best for my son. I want to know what TKAT and interim Head are going to do to ensure my child’s best interests and the school’s best interests are served in this situation. I cannot vote on anything until I know what the proposal is. Should we listen to Mr Linsell then have a vote afterwards? 59. My understanding is that as we are school below targets we would be forced into academisation whatever the situation. HS: Confirmed this was the case. 60. So is the case that, currently as it stands, because of Government policy, there is no decision about standing on our own as a school. The school would have to be involved with an academy? AG: Unfortunately you are still below floor and that is a fact. As of today you are still below floor. 61. We are a good school. We are not below floor. AG: You are below floor because the summer SAT results showed only 22% of Y6 pupils achieving a level 4 or above. 62. Have the results improved since SW’s arrival? AG: I am not sure. No? That is a question for the Governors. I am not sure that the results have improved since SWs arrival. Can the GB answer what the results were the year before SWs arrival?

8 15 January 2014


No I cannot off the top of my Head. We would have to look at our data. I cannot be sure of the response to that question. I can tell you what they are since you became a TKAT school - 22%, which is one of the lowest in this area probably the lowest in this area. What we need to do is to make sure this is not the case next year. Every sign is that this will be the case. 63. But how do you expect to do that now when what you are saying is that there is change and Mr Linsell will change and Mrs Barnes will also go? This is not a stable year. This will not help raise the grades.


What is in place will ensure that the grades are up and with the added support from TKAT and we are hopeful that the grades will improve this year. 64. I have seen a change in my son already as the stability has gone.


We have to do all we can as a collective to minimise this impact. 65. In 2011, the school was on the verge of closure and SW brought it up. Look at it now. Look at how much support he has. He brought the community together. Yes we are proud of this. He has said thank you to everyone on his tweets and this was removed. He is not allowed to speak to anyone at the school. Is he risking his severance package by communicating with the school?


No comment. 66. Before starting at this school, my son was told he could probably not remain in the school. SW took over and child given support. Child has now progressed to the point that he is gaining in independence due to the support in place. Can you personally guarantee that the level of support that my child has received will continue? Will any of this now change?


That is for the new Headmaster to discuss.

9 15 January 2014

Introduction of Mr David Linsell, Interim Headteacher. DL introduced himself as interim Headteacher and made an opening speech: “What I want to do is to talk to reassure you about the present not talk about the past. I cannot deal with your anger about the past or really reassure you about your anxiety about the future but will try to reassure you about the present. I will talk a little about myself then talk about my educational philosophy. The message I want to give you is that the reason I was brought in here is because I fit with Weyfield. I “get” the Weyfield Way even though I come from a different background, my educational philosophy is the same as the philosophy in this school. I have been a secondary Head for 13 years of a school in Eastbourne called Rattan with 1200 students. Rattan is a successful school. This has given me a lot of experience. You many wonder what I know about running primary school. The answer is quite a lot after 4 days. What I will tell you is that it is very similar in terms of what a Head does in a school. Strategic direction. Motivation. All the work that a Head does in a school is very similar and the things I have done throughout my career. It is not true to say I have had no experience in primary schools. I was fortunate to work for the DFE a couple of years ago and I had to visit over 100 primary schools during the course of the year. I am a Local Leader of Education and I have been supporting primary as well as secondary schools. I am not the finished article but I would say that the experience that I have will enable me to come in and work in this school. I am also very ably supported by Mrs Barnes (KB). With reference to Mrs Barnes and her secondment, if I take you back to when you were initially told about the secondment, it was fine. You were happy with the secondment and the other people who coming in to take up her role. I asked Mrs Barnes to stay to see me into the new role when I started, however my view is that Mrs Barnes should go on the secondment. I have two reasons for this. Firstly, I will be able to step into the interim role very rapidly and we have an obligation to Mrs Barnes to allow her to go. Secondly, I know already that what was put in place to replace Mrs Barnes is good. The people who are going to step up into that role are good people and they will do the role well. I would not let Mrs Barnes go if I thought that this would impact on the children. 67. Will Mrs Barnes go this term? DL: The short answer in relation to KB leaving is that we will meet next week to discuss the secondment and the likelihood is that it will happen this term but it will not happen until I believe it is safe for it to happen. 68. Will Mrs Mack go into the role of Deputy Head? DL: That has already happened. KB is “extra” in school. Other people have stepped up and KB is helping DL to understand the school whilst supporting the new Assistant Headteachers in their roles. I believe it is right for KB to go on the secondment for the reasons detailed before. 69. We are concerned that the children have already said goodbye and will have to go through it again. This was traumatic before and to repeat it will not be good for their welfare. These are the years where children need consistency and structure.

10 15 January 2014


Agreed. Luckily by and large that is what they have got. There are key individuals i.e. class teachers, support staff who provide this consistency. To go onto why I think I have been brought into the job. There are 3 reasons:   Experience: 13 years of Headship gives experience in terms of running a school; My approach to leadership fits with this school. I fundamentally believe that what you do as a leader is find the best in people. That is my style. To me it fits in with this school; Educational philosophy: the best way of talking to you about this is to talk about the things that I am proud of as a Head. First, I am proud of raising standards. In my previous school, children came to that school on average below the national average. By the time they left, on average they were above the national average. I am absolutely committed to the difference that raising standards makes to the lives of children. As a secondary Head I know what it means when your sons and daughters come up to secondary school. The levels they come up with matter. This is my approach. I am very aware of the fact that standards have risen here. In the last 3-4 days I have been working to gain an understanding of that, to make sure that I understand what those numbers mean in terms of the progress of these children. It is a very good news story. What I will say to you is that it is good but that does not mean I will sit back and watch it happen. As the interim Head of this school, I will continue to develop the quality of teaching in this school. It is a good school with outstanding aspects and I will continue to develop that. I will continue to ensure that you have good behaviour in this school. The children are delightful. The thing I was most scared of before starting this role was early years. I have 2 grandchildren and I look at them and I think I can’t manage 30 of those! I have been spending a lot of time with early years and they are an absolute delight. They know how to behave here. I will ensure that this continues. This was one of the key questions that staff asked me – will you maintain behaviour standards? This school has made massive improvements in the behaviour of its students. I will continue to support this by rewarding children and having consistent systems in place. 70. Obviously you have very good experience of being a Headteacher. What is your experience of TKAT?

DL: 

I was going to join TKAT at Easter. I chose to work for TKAT because: If you look at the educational philosophy in terms of the development of children, the approach they have is akin to my own. Often with academy chains e.g. Harris, they impose their will on schools. I had opportunity to work with Harris and I would not work for them as they would tell me how to run my school. With TKAT I have freedom to run my school; Most of the people in TKAT are serving Headteachers. A lot of the academy chains take the Heads out of the schools and you have a shelf life of up to 3 years. Within TKAT their approach is for the organisation to be run by the Headteachers. I am becoming the regional director for Hampshire as well as being the Head for one of those schools.

71. How long will you be here?

11 15 January 2014


I am only here until the new Head arrives. There is no idea of timescales. This depends on the recruitment of the new Headteacher and is dependent upon the period of notice that Head will have to give. 72. My concern is that my son is in Y6 and there seems to be a lot of pressure on their results and with all this change it is a lot of pressure. How can you expect them to excel in their results this year when they have had so much change?


That is my job. With my experience brings an understanding of how this school is run. I want the school to continue on its journey – the Weyfield Way. I understand all about the pressures on the children. Indeed, the main question I have is how we can support all the children and how we support different children in different ways. 73. As you are the interim Headteacher, is there a particular time period for you to be at Weyfield as we do not want to let our children get too close to you as they did SW.


I am interim Head until the new Headteacher arrives. That is all I can say. I need to be clear with the children. There has been a 2 part conversation with them already. The first part discussed with them was that I was the new Head. This process was given a deal of thought. The children need to process this information. They then need to know that I am not here forever. It does not mean the children cannot have a relationship with my but they must know that I am only temporary. 74. When the new Head is found, is it going to be a case where you drop off the face of the earth or will you be with them to help in the way that KB is helping you?


Remember that I am 4 days into this role. I was due to leave my school at Easter and on the Thursday evening before the school broke up on the Friday I was asked to come to Weyfield. My Governors had already prepared to release me at Easter but took the decision to release me early. The value of being in a chain is that they can support processes in their Academies. I would like as part of my role to do help the new Headteacher but cannot say that I will be able to. In terms of the regional director role I will be here to support the school as I am falling in love with the place. I can tell you that that will happen. 75. My concern is that after losing someone as valuable as SW that the Academy is more interested in numbers that pupil welfare. I am concerned that if the numbers are not good we will lose you then the next Head. Is this going to go on and on? My child will never achieve the desired numbers.


You are assuming something about your child. 76. I am telling you a fact. He is all over the place as he cannot process change and he needs consistency which he will not get this year and this will have a huge effect on his education. I am concerned that the way this year will go will affect his results. I would like to know that the Academy is here for the children

12 15 January 2014


I understand this. I joined TKAT because I believe they are there for the children and I believe in their approach. 77. We could believe this as well if TKAT could show that they did more to keep SW.


I am here to talk about my time rather than what has happened. 78. How do you intend to ensure that the results for this year’s SATs are going to improve?


There is a simple formula to raising standards. You raise standards through the quality of teaching, inspiration and the quality of learning that goes on in the school. The answer to your question is that what happens in the period up to the SATS is that the interventions in place are hyped up. I have never been a “teach to the test” teacher – I tell you the easiest way to improve SAT results – do a SAT paper every week. The problem with this is that the children are not at that level. What you actually have to do is give them the skills and approaches through the learning to access the learning. The SATs are about providing access to the secondary curriculum. You need a 4b to be able to access the secondary school curriculum. Teachers know exactly what skills a child does not have and we are able to provide additional support to help them access these skills through interventions. I am an optimist and you can make a difference. 79. If you speak to any of the Y6 pupils at the moment they are distraught. How are they going to be able to get back up to the level they were at before this upset?


they are asking me if I am going to stop the French trip – of course I am not. In terms of getting back to normality and going back to the point I believe that I understand what makes a school tick and I will give these children stability. I have not come in to change things. I am committed to improving things not to change things. 80. I am the child of 2 primary school Headteachers both of whom have suggested that a Primary school Headteacher is a very different to a secondary school Headteacher. Yes there is strategic planning, there is risk assessment, business development but I believe that a primary school Headteacher could name any child in his school and their siblings. In a secondary school I imagine you can name good and bad children only. So you saying that you are committed to improving the teaching here – however I don’t believe you can have an understanding of the qualities a primary school Headteacher needs or can develop the understanding for this job in a 4 month period.


I argue the roles may be different in some ways but fundamentally they are not. Good teaching is about planning to meet the needs of the children in front of you. To engage those children and have the ability to assess the progress the children make. What sits below that is exactly the same in a primary and secondary school. The quality of the relationship between the adult and the child is the key and this is the same in both sectors. Yes we are different animals but largely as a consequence of the size of the organisations. I have had new experiences since starting at Weyfield – I have had to make my own tea, manage my own diary and open my own post. These are not the same but the teaching is the same. The difference is largely to do with the size of the organisation.

13 15 January 2014

81. I need you to explain to the children that change is OK as I have a teary 6 year old to whom I have to explain this nightly. I have to explain that she is not going to get secondary school work, she is not going to lose her teacher, yes she is going to lose her interim Headteacher, yes she probably will lose KB. I cannot keep explaining this to her as it is not fair and the children need to know what is going on. Every child is concerned, scared and frightened. Each child needs a parental reassurance from the school. DL: I understand this. What I would say to you is that I have been here 4 days. I understand that it was harsh on the first day and the children had a lot of questions. I am trying to learn names. Fundamentally, one of things I was most proud of in my old school was the relationships I had with the students. There is a perception that secondary Heads are remote from the children and they should not have relations with the children. I did. The children respected me but we had good relationships. One of the joys of coming in here is how quickly I have been able to form relationships with the children here. I take your point about the children wanting to communicate – the children want to talk to me. I ask you to judge me by my actions. It is a day to day individual student’s activity. I have been playing a deliberate game with them this week re: learning my name but they are starting to do this which is a part of forming a relationship. 82. If you are committed to the Weyfield Way why can’t you stay on as Weyfield Head? DL: Money plays a role. You could not afford me. 83. But I thought you wanted what was best for the children? I am starting to feel like Weyfield is like a battery hen farm. We are low on the pecking order. Especially as we now can’t actually afford you. Why does money matter if you are in this for the children? DL: I came to TKAT to work across a number of schools and am paid to work across a number of schools. My previous children did not want me to leave and I told them that I was going to help other children. There is a difference to looking after 1000 children to 4000 children. 84. As long as you are not looking at this as just a job as that is what the comment re: salary felt like. DL: Even though I am well paid there are easier ways to make money than this job. You saying that I am not in it for the children is wrong. I did not mean it to sound as such. 85. If you were to leave your previous school at Easter? Has a permanent Head already taken up position there? DL: No. During my 13 years at the school I developed a leadership team capable of running the school 86. So TKAT has left 1 school without a Headteacher, then left another school without a Headteacher to help in the first school so who will be drafted into that school until a new Headteacher is appointed? DL: The DH is running the school until a new Head is appointed.

14 15 January 2014

87. I do wonder if TKAT as an organisation has fully appreciated as an organisation that what this feels like is a bereavement. It feels like we are in mourning and this has not been recognised and the suddenness of SW departure is very difficult. Please do not underestimate the effect that this will have on everyone as we have a lot of emotional reaction to this situation as we were very fond of SW. The reason for this was that we did not like SW to start with. He won us round and we trusted him and now he is gone. DL: Sadly I have experienced bereavement in school and had to manage situations when pupils have died in school. I used the same approach in this situation starting from a very clear statement. The recommended approach is that you need to say what has happened. This is why the children were shocked. In terms of allowing children to come to terms with something you start with a very clear statement of what has happened then you put the support in. On that Tuesday we had planned very carefully what would happen as a team. 88. It was very harsh. Several children came home saying DL announced SW left and he was new Head. It was thought that KB should have told the children the news. DL: My understanding is that in these situations this is exactly what you should do. 89. As parents we have had practically zero interaction with TKAT and how you run the school. You have not been here. The reason you are facing such animosity today is that we feel that something has been imposed on us by a faceless organisation. We were doing fine without you. What we would like to see is a structured, collaborative relationship between parents, TKAT and Governors. We would like our voice to be more widely heard with TKAT going forward. How will you ensure this is going to happen? DL: You have Parent Governors who are your representatives on the Governing body. I will also say to you that parent voice is something I have been heavily involved in. My school was the most popular school in East Sussex. One of the reasons for this was the quality of the relationship with the parents. I understand the value of parent voice. You have Parent Governors and there is a place for parent voice. 90. You can see what a community we are here. We see TKAT at the moment as the enemy. How will we have more open dialogue? The Parent Governors are good but this is not enough. We need TKAT to be present more. AG: TKAT’s philosophy is that where a school is doing OK it will not get involved. 91. But we were doing OK. I don’t think we want TKAT in the school. 92. But some parents do. It has to be the right support however. DL: I am more than happy to take these questions. There will be opportunities for parent voice to move the school forward. Tonight has not been the time for that. I will put in opportunities for parents to come in and address these concerns. 93. Are you currently the regional director for TKAT? DL: I am.

15 15 January 2014

94. So you are currently doing 2 jobs. What % of time will you be Headteacher here? What time are you devoting to being the Directorship? DL: I am 80% here. 95. So 20% of the time you are not the Headteacher. What happens in this time? DL: In this time the deputy will be the Headteacher. I intend to take a couple of half days off a week. 96. So are TKAT paying your salary from the central fund? Or are Weyfield? DL: It is complicated. The regional director role is not being paid by Weyfield. 97. We need to know the answer to this question. I object to paying for 2 Heads, one of whom is a very expensive Head. 98. I understand that the main thing from TKAT is that they removed the Head. In terms of recruiting the new Head will the Governors be involved in the selection process? HS: We will be. We are sitting down later in the month to put a pack together – emergency Governing Body meeting this month and we will meet with TKAT. Also part of selection committee. HS and HC were part of the panel for Simon. It will be TKAT and Governors. 99. Does this mean that SW could apply for the role? 100. There are currently 30 primary vacancies within 20 miles of this postcode. Is anything going to be done to ensure we get the quality of Headteacher that we need here? It will have to be something special to get the person we need. TKAT recognises that there is a national shortage of Headteachers and are putting a programme together to recruit Heads to TKAT. This will run alongside the recruitment of a new Head. TKAT also has a programme of growing its own talent wherever that talent is to overcome the shortage. You said you were here until the new Head arrives. Does this mean we are paying 80% of your salary until the new Head arrives? That is incorrect. You have guessed because I said I was working 20% of the time for TKAT that Weyfield is paying the remaining 80%. You are making an assumption because I said that TKAT was paying that 20% for the national director role that Weyfield is picking up the rest of the bill. That may or may not be true. I do not know. There have been loads of trips recently at Weyfield e.g. The Royal Albert Hall, the big day out. Will they continue and will you be attending as SW both attended and looked after a number of children? In my time I have taken children to Russia, Japan. I go on school trips. I believe the trips are brilliant. Yes they will continue.






16 15 January 2014

103. DL:

Are they going to continue to be free? Assume everything will remain as it is unless you hear otherwise. If trips have been free in the past, all things being equal, and all things remaining as they are if possible. I will also be going on these trips as they continue. Going back to what people have said about it being a grieving process and you saying that it was OK to come in and say that SW has left, etc. We are asking questions about SW. You are saying that this is the end of the line for SW. I can categorically say that questions do need to be asked and answered, particularly relating to alleged gross misconduct. All you are saying is that it is confidential. We need answers. At no point were your children not safe. How to answer that question is something I have thought long and hard about. What I can say to you is that the view you had of Simon at the end of last term should not be changed. I have come here to meet you and find out what you are providing for my child not to find out what happened to SW. I am not finding this out as everything seems to be answered with “that cannot be answered” There doesn’t seem to be anything provided about the future. You can’t seem to tell us if there is a minimum time that you will be here. The minimum will be Easter as we may be able to get a Headteacher for Easter. It all depends on their release time i.e. if they have to work a month or a term. As far as you are concerned you are going to carry on with processes and status as it stands?




AG: HS: 106.

DL: I am going to seek to improve things but acknowledge this is from a strong base. 107. In terms of the results for this year. There are 10-12 children possibly more who are expected to get a Level 6 which is unheard of in this area. With no disrespect to you – would the results be attributed to you, DL or would it be TKAT? I would like to say me but that would be untrue. It is the school who would get the credit for the results. If TKAT got rid of SW because of poor results. You said that. I did not say that. TKAT have said we are a poor school because of the results. When the results come through and the children get the L6 grades they anticipate, will TKAT take the glory? I would say that it is the school and all those associated with the school who take the credit. It is a journey SW should have been here to finish.


108. DL: 109.



17 15 January 2014

DL: 111.

Parents the meeting is drawing to a close and I look forward to seeing you soon. We still need to do the vote.

Staff all leave. HS: 112. 113. What do you want to achieve by doing the vote. What are we voting for? We would like it to be on the record, not necessarily for anything to be done with, as an expression of the level of parental support for TKAT. I would like to propose a vote of no confidence in TKAT. What we do with that information and whether we do anything with it at all is for a different meeting and is a different question. Can you please put your hand up if you would like to say you do not have confidence in TKAT and the way that they are managing this school? This is just a gauge of parents support.

Count of hands Those having no confidence in TKAT and how they are running the school: Those abstaining: Confidence in the way TKAT managing school: 114. 65 7 0

I don’t understand what I am being asked to vote on. TKAT have brought in a gentleman who appears capable of doing a good job.

The meeting ended at p.m.

Minutes prepared by S Jones, 18th January 2014

18 15 January 2014