Headteacher Of Five Islands School Suspended

Headteacher of the Five Islands School, Bryce Wilby

The headteacher of the Five Islands School, Bryce Wilby, has been suspended.

It follows an emergency meeting of the Governors called at short notice and held on Friday afternoon and evening. Not all the Governors were able to attend.

Bryce was called into school on Saturday following his return to St Mary’s after a  trip to London to discuss academy status.

There’s no official word on what happened but sources from within the Town Hall tell us that Governors took the action after an alleged discrepancy was found by auditors who are currently in the school.

St Mary’s Police Sergeant Colin Taylor confirmed during the afternoon yesterday that there had been no ongoing investigation or complaint made about any member of the Five Islands School staff.

We understand that some Governors are aware of a staff petition expressing a vote of no-confidence in the headteacher. Recent school restructuring and an ongoing re-evaluation of teaching staff positions has been controversial and has resulted in some staff salary packages being reduced.

The staff heard that Bryce had been suspended when they were addressed by the vice-chair of the Governors, Gail Sibley, at the start of their training day yesterday.

We’ve spoken with Bryce Wilby. He says he has not been informed of the reason for his suspension.

He has been asked not to go on School premises while the investigations continue and says he will comply with that. He says his absence has been mutually agreed.

It’s not the first time this has happened in School. Three years ago two school staff were asked to take paid leave while allegations made against them were investigated. They returned to work soon afterwards when the investigation found no grounds for disciplinary action.

The Council of the Isles of Scilly is the Local Education Authority and is staying tight-lipped. After receiving legal advice from Cornwall Council over what they could say, they issued a written statement confirming that: “An issue of concern has been raised at the Five Islands School which is being looked into. The Governing Body will be considering this matter in due course.”

Staff and parents returning to school after yesterday’s teacher training day are in the dark over what may or may not have happened, but Councillors may be better informed. They were all sent an email yesterday stating that the Chief Executive, Philip Hygate, and Director of Education, Penny Penn Howard, were personally available to discuss the matter with Councillors as members of the public would be asking questions.

Diocese Education Officer Sue Green was made aware of the suspension yesterday afternoon through a phone call. The Communication Officer for the Diocese issued a statement afterwards saying that The Five Islands School is a Voluntary Controlled School and: “We have been made aware of the fact that the head teacher has been suspended from duty pending an investigation. At this point, however, we do not have any further information, but are confident that the investigation by the Isles of Scilly Council will be both thorough and fair.”

Bryce has publicly challenged the Council on a number of occasions and issues.

He recently made an emotive appeal to retain the income from solar panels on the sports hall roof for the school; the Council wanted it shared. In the end, he had panels fitted to the school roof as well.

PTA Chairman Sam Mallon said she hoped the matter would be resolved quickly as the well-being of pupils and staff was paramount.