Parents challenge Cottingham High governors after head teacher's resignation
GOVERNORS of a flagship academy are being challenged by a group of parents over the running of the school, where the suspended head has resigned.
The group is tackling Cottingham High School's governors over the way the academy has been run over the past six months.
Head teacher Elizabeth Logan was suspended in February without explanation.
She then resigned for "personal and professional reasons" last month, days before the 1,288-pupil secondary reopened for the new term.
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Now, a letter challenging the way the governors have handled the matter has been sent to the school by a small group of parents calling themselves CHS Action.
A spokesman for the group told the Mail: "All parents in this group believe the governors have not acted in the best interests of the school over the suspension of the head and this has now hurt the school financially."
The parents are concerned the governors may not have exercised "due diligence" to investigate complaints by a member of staff against the head before suspending her.
Their letter says: "We believe the governors should be held to account over this.
"A simple joint statement is not enough for the parents of this school, given what information we now know.
"This is not something you sweep under the carpet."
They are concerned the cost of the episode – including the head's suspension on full pay, legal fees, the cost of an investigation following the suspension and any payout – could run into six figures and hurt the school's finances.
They say: "In the current financial climate and with the school now an academy, how is this extra burden on the financial resources going to be covered by the school?
"Where is the funding to pay for this? Job cuts that will affect the quality of education to our children?"
The governing body's role is intended to be "a proactive critical friend that holds the head teacher to account", while "the head decides the vision and day-to-day management of the school."
But CHS Action says: "The governing body is not a proactive critical friend, it is running the school."
They are calling for the governors to write to parents about the issue.
The parent group has told the school: "We are aware we can complain directly to the Secretary of State for Education and also to Ofsted, which listens to complaints if the school is not well led or managed or is wasting money."
They say they have withheld their identities as "we fear reprisals, not just to ourselves but to our children".
The parent group has told the Mail they are happy with acting head Will Jennings and his staff.
The governors say they are "very disturbed and concerned" by the letter.
They say the letter contains inaccuracies and insist they will always discuss credible concerns with anyone who comes forward openly.
In a statement to the Mail issued by chairman Jim Brigham, they say: "The board would like to emphasise that the assertions made in the anonymous letter of reprisals and intimidation towards the parents if their identity was revealed and also their children shows a real lack of knowledge about the ethos of Cottingham High School and the integrity with which the staff and board behave."
The governors say: "Feedback from staff members on the board has indicated a calm and upbeat start to the school year for students, staff and parents."