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Former Piper’s Vale governor disputes Paradigm Trust’s handling of staff resignations

PUBLISHED: 09:00 17 November 2017

Piper's Vale Primary Academy in Ipswich. Picture: ARCHANT

Piper's Vale Primary Academy in Ipswich. Picture: ARCHANT

A former governor at an Ipswich primary school which is facing the resignation of eight teachers has said he is “staggered” that the trust claims that the numbers of staff leaving were “inevitable”,

George Thomas, former Piper's Vale governor and Kesgrave High School head said Pper's Vale had been improving. Picture: ARCHANTGeorge Thomas, former Piper's Vale governor and Kesgrave High School head said Pper's Vale had been improving. Picture: ARCHANT

Earlier this week it emerged that around eight full-time teaching staff would be leaving Piper’s Vale Primary Academy at the end of term – the equivalent of a third of its teaching workforce.

The school was given a ‘requires improvement’ rating by Ofsted at its most recent inspection, prompting the Paradigm Trust to take over the school, which it did on September 1.

Ben Carter, executive principal at the school previously said: “In any turnaround situation, there is a very close scrutiny of the teaching staff and this will lead to resignations – it is an inevitable part of the process.”

But former chairman of the governing body George Thomas, who finished his role there at the end of August when the school was taken over, said he was “staggered” that the trust would explain the resignations as inevitable, and said that five other members of staff had already left in July, which he believed was down to Paradigm’s incoming.

“I, and I know other ex-governors feel the same, am staggered that the resignations of so many staff can be idly dismissed as inevitable,” Mr Thomas, the former headteacher at Kesgrave High School said.

“To lose 13 full time teachers in such a short space of time cannot be heartlessly shrugged off as an ‘inevitable part of the process’.”

Mr Thomas said that the school had been on an upward curve of improvements, increasing its 29% of students achieving the expected standard in reading, writing and maths when they left in 2016 to 45% this year – work that was carried out under the previous leadership and teaching staff of the school.

Mr Thomas added: “It was an increasingly good school – it was going well and heading upwards.”

It is understood that both year six teachers, who had been instrumental in the improving results, were among those to have quit in July.

He also highlighted findings from the Ofsted inspection which said: “School leaders have established a calm and positive ethos within which pupils grow in confidence and are enthusiastic about learning.

“School leaders know the school well and what they need to do to improve it. The pace of improvement is now accelerating.”

Mr Carter said: “We are confident we will be able to recruit effective teachers, and being part of a larger multi-academy trust means that we have resources from across the wider organisation available to us.”

The trust also runs Murrayfield Primary School, which alongside Piper’s Vale is a feeder school for Ipswich Academy.

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