School Staff Given Summary Of Consultant’s Report

The Five Islands School

Staff at the Five Island School have spoken about their “fear and nervousness” over changes being implemented by the former head teacher.

This was highlighted in a summary of the report written by educational consultant, John Sullivan.

Mr Sullivan was brought in by governors to investigate the no-confidence petition signed by school staff and he undertook over 70 confidential interviews with staff and governors during June.

Mr Sullivan has concluded that there was confusion amongst staff about the direction the school was taking, particularly over talk of a possible change to academy status. There was also a loss of trust by some staff in the leadership of the head teacher, Bryce Wilby.

However, Mr Sullivan’s report raises questions about the number of staff that signed the original petition. He said 47 staff put their names to the document, some 59% of total school staff.

But leaked governors minutes from their meeting on May 18th, where governors took the decision to suspend Mr Wilby, record that the Director of Education, Ms Penny Penn-Howard, told them that 49 staff members, or 69%, had signed, and these had been verified by a Justice of the Peace.

Mr Wilby was eventually suspended pending and investigation into alleged financial impropriety.

The report goes on to detail staff feelings about Mr Wilby’s leadership, including his reliance on using email, rather than face-to-face meetings, and his perceived lack of a development plan for the school.

Importantly, the report says Bryce had, “not taken staff with him during the restructuring process and instead has created an atmosphere of anxiety, fear and nervousness.” This referred to the cost saving and re-grading process in which some staff faced a potential loss in salary.

Some staff also felt that they had received little feedback about the quality of their teaching, and they complained of feeling, “disheartened and undervalued.”

They also felt that, despite raising this with governors, the situation had been allowed to continue and this had led to deterioration in the relationship with parents.


7 Responses to School Staff Given Summary Of Consultant’s Report

  1. Todd Stevens September 22, 2012 at 8:43 am

    Well said Diane.

  2. Diane Cidade September 21, 2012 at 8:05 pm

    I empathize with anyone who is unsure of whether their job or salary is at risk or not, and can understand completely how this would lead to one feeling fearful and anxious; However, you cannot compare that fear and anxiety which stem from very legitimate reasons (which seems in this case to be budget cuts), with the fear and anxiety that you will be struck off and your life made very difficult for taking a stance on issues (which is what most of the ‘fear’ in the community is in relation to).

    You’re comparing apples and oranges; The fear of cost-saving efforts and the fear of retribution.

  3. Pepper September 21, 2012 at 2:08 pm

    Absolutely, Frank. One rule for one and one for another.

  4. Frank Gray September 21, 2012 at 8:19 am

    Funny isn’t it I could have sworn that HEART and Todd amongst others have been complaining about a very similar sense of anxiety, fear and nervousness in their dealings with Coubcil officials?
    Clearly then everybody on the islands must be permanently in fear of someone else, or is that too much of a generalisation?

    • Todd Stevens September 22, 2012 at 10:40 am

      Not in the least bit similar, Frank. The Teachers were in fear of a cut in pay or loosing their jobs through cuts that have to be made. This isnt even close to the fear of retribution expressed by many at the recent HEART meetings.

  5. Todd Stevens September 20, 2012 at 9:32 pm

    May they enjoy their ‘twenty peices of sliver’ and live in hope that- he who lives by the sword -does not die by it!

  6. Stuart September 20, 2012 at 3:44 pm

    An atmosphere of anxiety, fear and nervousness.” This referred to the cost saving and re-grading process in which some staff faced a potential loss in salary.

    I would say that it was the regrading to a more realistic salary banding that caused the teachers to dislike Mr Wilby, A tough decision that needed to be made and was hardly likely to make him popular amongst those staff affected.

    The school budget has remained static while costs have risen
    Savings have to be made, that’s a simple fact and the only place where savings can be made are staffing levels and off island school closures