Union's call for open meeting to 'restore accountability' at Ashlawn School after head's departure

Ashlawn School.
Ashlawn School.

The National Union of Teachers (NUT) is seeking a full explanation after Ashlawn School head Lois Reed left in a cloud of mystery.

The spokesperson for the NUT said the Mrs Reed's sudden exit raises significant questions and the union is now calling for an open meeting for all students, staff and parents at the school to "restore accountability and reassure all concerned".

The departure of Mrs Reed came about after the Advertiser revealed her salary of between £270,001 and £280,000 in 2017 - which placed her among the highest earning heads in the country.

A spokesperson for the NUT said: "The departure of Mrs Reed, quickly following public concerns over her £270,000 salary, mid-term and apparently without any prior warning send shock waves through the Warwickshire school community and beyond as the school becomes just one more troubled trust statistic of confusion in the national academy landscape.

"This financial difficulty comes as the NEU School Funding Cuts website reveals that the school faces funding cuts of up to £147 per student by 2020 and a general loss of over £200,000."

Mrs Reed's departure was announced by Ashlawn School in a letter to parents issued on Monday, June 4.

The letter states: "As you will be aware, Mrs Reed has been away from the school for a number of weeks.

"We have been in regular contact with her during this time and we have agreed that it is right that there is a fresh start for all of us.

The Advertiser reached the Derbyshire-based PR company hired by Ashlawn School to ask if Mrs Reed's departure had anything to do with public discussion and media coverage of her salary - the PR company declined to comment.

The spokesperson for the NUT said the Mrs Reed's sudden exit raises significant questions and the union is now calling for an open meeting for all students, staff and parents at the school to "restore accountability and reassure all concerned".

They added: "Warwickshire NEU(NUT) is concerned that the information presented to staff, students and parents regarding the sudden exit of their established head teacher raises significant questions which must be clarified in the public interest.

"The teacher unions warned parents and staff that there were deep uncertainties inherent in the whole process amongst which was the vulnerability of pupils, staff and parents to erratic management changes as academies adopted pseudo-business-style management structures outside the accountability brief of the Local Authority and Warwickshire County Council’s elected representatives.

"That transparent process was lost once the school took on the Academy mask and left the community a hostage to fortune.

"Whilst the school continued, thankfully, to maintain its standards, teacher unions and members have remained concerned about the proliferation of difficulties with key issues of financial management in academies and free schools across the country."