Local governing body of Ely College dissolved night before Jenkinson-Dix and two vice principals ‘walked’ as principal prepares to lodge formal complaint to Ofsted

Chairman of govenors Ben Gibbs and principal Catherine Jekinson-Dix have both resigned.

Chairman of govenors Ben Gibbs and principal Catherine Jekinson-Dix have both resigned. - Credit: Archant

The entire governing body of Ely College was dissolved at a special meeting on Thursday – hours before the principal and two vice principals also announced they were leaving.

Ben Gibbs, chairman of the governing board, revealed the dramatic sequence of events and also disclosed a formal complaint has been lodged about the Ofsted report that triggered the shock departures.

In a statement, jointly released by the entire dissolved board, Mr Gibbs said: “Ely College’s local governing board was dissolved by the Trust (the CfBT Education Trust who runs the school) on Thursday night but as the former governors, we are all incredibly disappointed that the Ofsted inspection team evaluated the school as it did.

“On the basis of our many years’ experience of the school, we do not believe it to be inadequate.”

He said he accepted the college’s Right to Teach, Right to Learn policy “has been controversial but it has had a remarkably positive impact in the school.

“Sadly, that’s something this particular inspection team did not agree with. It remains for the future leadership to decide whether the policy is effective or not, and to move on.”

The former chairman said that whilst the inspection confirmed some of the challenges that the outgoing leadership had already identified and begun to tackle “we do not feel that the report describes the school accurately”.

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He said: “Parents can be assured that the school leadership had already implemented a wide range of activity to address disappointing levels of achievement.

“It is a great shame that the inspection and the significant changes that must follow will inevitably result in some disruption at a critical time of the school year.

“We are aware that the report and its repercussions will be news for a while, but the most important thing is that the community’s children are educated in as calm, supportive and effective an environment as possible.

“As a group of people who care passionately about the school we urge all parents and the wider community to support the new leadership team and all staff as they very quickly seek to secure a better judgement from Ofsted next time around.”

He appealed for widespread support from parents and the community to “rally round the teachers and students who work in and attend a school which is, despite the Ofsted report, most certainly not deserving of such a harsh and unfair judgement.

“We wish our outgoing leaders well and hope that Ofsted consider and respond carefully to the many points raised in the formal complaint about the conduct of the inspection lodged by the principal.”

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