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Answers demanded over management of Shrewsbury school

By Andrew Morris | Shrewsbury | Education | Published:

A former governor of a Shrewsbury school which is about to be taken over by an academy trust has called for an investigation to be carried out into its former management.

Councillor Kevin Pardy

The Shrewsbury Academy is one of three schools announced this week to be taken over by the Oswestry-based Marches Academy Trust.

But Councillor Kevin Pardy, a Shropshire Council member for Sundorne and a former governor at the school, has called for an investigation into the school’s past management.

He said he has long-held concerns about the school and accused it of “poor management”.

“I’ve had concerns about how Shrewsbury Academy has been managed even before it became an academy,” he said.

“During the planning stages, I as a governor, questioned the direction.

“The answers didn’t fill me with confidence; they were fanciful and led me to believe they were trying to run before they could walk. I duly resigned.

“After years of poor management and even after changes of regime, which included changes in key positions, the Shrewsbury Academy finds itself in deeper financial problems.

“Poor management has seen difficulties for hard working staff, some who have resigned over the years, difficulties for pupils and anxiety for parents.

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“Geoff Pettengel, the original principal, resigned whilst the academy was in financial troubles.

“I have been informed he approached the local authority for financial support before his resignation.

Desperate

“When the new regime took control, I was assured by the chief executive that he’d never failed to turn a school around. He shared his plans with me and asked me to be patient.

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“My patience, at times, saw me at odds with parents; parents who were desperate for their children’s problems to be addressed.”

Councillor Pardy added: “Now with the Marches stepping in, it seems yet again that those responsible will move on without explanation, leaving behind many casualties.

“I’ve therefore approached education professionals and requested guidance and insisted on an investigation; an investigation of all aspects of the school management, to include the management of staff and finance, particularly finance.

“I want to know why the executive board allowed this situation to manifest and how aware the governing board were of the problems.

“I also want insight into the policies and procedures of the everyday in school.

“I want to know if the local authority has supported the academy financially and if they have, will they receive that money back.

“It’s not good enough to leave stakeholders in the dark and walk away, the community has a right to know what is going on.

“This Academy has, and has had, very hard working, skilled staff, not just teachers but ancillary staff also. For things to go so badly wrong there needs to be an explanation.”

Earlier this week, Sarah Longville, chief executive of the Marches Academy Trust, said: “The Marches Academy Trust has developed and grown into a formidable team of schools, with a common aim of giving the children of Shropshire a first class education.

“Unless there are methods that we think can improve the schools, then changes will not be made. Our aim is to give the children an excellent and wide array of opportunities in the years to come.”

The Shrewsbury Academies Trust and the Shrewsbury Academy Board of Governors have been approached for comment.

Andrew Morris

By Andrew Morris
Local Democracy Reporter - @AndyMorrisLDR

Local Democracy Reporter covering Shropshire.

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