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Trust denies parents’ claims over double resignation at Chadwell Heath school

PUBLISHED: 17:00 06 October 2020

The Atam Academy Parent Body (AAPB) has reacted angrily to a double resignation at the Chadwell Heath school, blaming both departures on the governing Khalsa Academies Trust. Picture: Atam Academy Parent Body

The Atam Academy Parent Body (AAPB) has reacted angrily to a double resignation at the Chadwell Heath school, blaming both departures on the governing Khalsa Academies Trust. Picture: Atam Academy Parent Body

Archant

A number of parents have voiced concerns over a double resignation at the Atam Academy in Chadwell Heath, blaming both departures on the trust that runs the school.

The Atam Academy Parents Body (AAPB) protested on Friday, October 2, following the resignations of executive headteacher Sulina Piesse and head of primary John Ridley, each described by the AAPB as “strong leaders respected by staff and parents”.

In an official press release issued on the matter, the group said: “We believe their resignations are a direct result of the harassment and undue pressures received by the Khalsa Academies Trust (KAT) leaders who manage the school from South Bucks.”

The trust denies this. In confirming both departures, its CEO Nick Kandola said: “We are confident that these changes will move Atam Academy forward and into the next chapter of its successful evolution.

“Regrettably, some of these changes are not being seen by a small number of ex governors, who are parents, as progressive or positive. Sadly, this is the result of a previous disagreement between the trust and some ex governors when the trust adapted the structure from traditional governing bodies to local advisory boards.”

The previous disagreement to which Mr Kandola refers surrounds a turnover of the academy’s governing body that took place in March, when chair of governors Mankamal Singh was dismissed and all other members of the governing body suspended.

At the time the AAPB argued the suspensions were linked to whistleblowing concerns raised about KAT’s management by the governing body.

The trust says the AAPB’s opposition to these staff departures is solely due to it disagreeing with the structural change made to the governing body.

The trust said: “Unfortunately, and as a consequence of those changes, a group has been briefing against the school and seeking to challenge the route we are pursuing.”

However, the AAPB argues that this latest development simply adds to its ongoing concerns, saying: “We believe our parental concerns for the future of our children’s education at a predominantly BAME faith school have been neglected.”

Responding, Mr Kandola said: “We are prioritising the pupils and their education, not petty politics.”


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