Morale still high at troubled school

MORALE at a troubled school where a headmaster and two of his staff are suspended was today described as very good - despite mystery still surrounding allegations against them.

FELIXSTOWE: Morale at a troubled school where a headmaster and two of his staff are suspended was today described as very good - despite mystery still surrounding allegations against them.

It was business as usual for students, unfazed by the disruption to the management of Orwell High, in Felixstowe, with teachers saying they were not affected.

It is understood deputy head Pat Doyle has been put in charge while school governors carry out their investigation into allegations made against three staff.

The inquiry, being carried out by an independent team, is under way but it is not known how long it will take.


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Meanwhile, it has been disclosed that the school's director of corporate services Jackie Spillane is one of the three people suspended from her post, along with headteacher Peter Tomkins, 43, and another male member of staff.

Miss Spillane, 39, has been at Orwell High for about two years and is a member of the senior leadership team.

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Her duties involve overseeing the school's finances, the campus site in Maidstone Road, ICT and administration.

Neither she or Mr Tomkins have been available for comment - and he has not returned calls made to his mobile.

Miss Spillane made a complaint of harassment to the police about the second, unnamed man, believed to be an ICT manager at the school, who was subsequently issued with an harassment warning about his behaviour.

So far it is the only involvement police have had in the matter.

Governors of the 830-student school have launched their own investigation and police will only become involved again if this was to reveal any matters of alleged criminal activity.

School governors say they are looking into “a number of allegations”.

No details have been released about the inquiry, but it has been stressed that it does not involve any pupils.

Miss Doyle is an experienced member of staff and part of the history department, and has been at the school for more than 12 years. Her previous posts include serving as head of sixth form and as vice-principal.

Since she became acting head this week morale is said to be very good.

One teacher said: “The atmosphere at the school is very good indeed - everyone is working very hard and just getting on with each other and their jobs. It's been fine - no problems at all. The students have been unaffected by what has happened. They are talking about it, which is only natural, but none of the people involved were teaching staff.”

Do you have any views on secondary education in Felixstowe and Orwell in particular? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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