‘My fellow headteacher was hung out to dry by governors’

Former Peele Community College headteacher Ian Charles
Former Peele Community College headteacher Ian Charles
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GOVERNORS at a secondary school have been accused of hanging its headteacher out to dry.

A short statement issued last week confirmed Ian Charles had decided to leave Peele Community College in Long Sutton to pursue other career interests. He had been absent since May after governors took the decision to suspend him.

Defending former Peele headteacher Ian Charles: Donington's Thomas Cowley High School headteacher Martyn Taylor.

Defending former Peele headteacher Ian Charles: Donington's Thomas Cowley High School headteacher Martyn Taylor.

But fellow headteacher Martyn Taylor, of Thomas Cowley High School in Donington, claims a small group of governers had chosen to “oust” Mr Charles.

He said: “Ian Charles has terrific energy, fantastic ideas and a real passion for improving the lot of young people.

“He is a very fine educator and he did a terrific job of getting the Peele back on an even financial keel, moving it forward and improving results.

“He could see very clearly the direction which the school needed to go and I think there were perhaps one or two governors who felt the school belonged to them and they took their charge so seriously they felt that the things he wanted to do were not going to happen in the school.”

Mr Charles’ suspension followed hot on the heels of revelations in the Spalding Guardian in April that a teacher at the school had falsified grades on GCSE English coursework that the students had not even been asked to complete.

The problems came to light after the teacher left to take up a position at the Sirius Academy in Hull, now under the leadership of former Peele head Dr Cathy Taylor. It’s understood the teacher is not there now.

Mr Taylor said: “I know first-hand the challenges that Ian Charles faced on appointment.

“Dr Taylor appointed the people she wanted, who have since been found wanting.

“There were problems at the school with someone he didn’t appoint who behaved in a grossly improper way and the governors have hung him out to dry for it. It seems to be very unfair.”

“I know there were certainly tensions with some of the governors because things were being made difficult for him.”

And he was harshly critical of the way governors handled Mr Charles’ departure, saying staff were told in a “totally matter of fact way”, leaving some of the staff in tears.

He added: “It is very sad. It may be that the accountability at the Peele Community College is not all it should be.

“I don’t think this has done anyone any favours, especially as it happened just before the exams.

“My fear is that if this year’s exam results are excellent the governors will claim it’s because they got rid of Mr Charles when they did, and if they are poor they will say it’s just as well they got rid of him.”

Mr Taylor said he had been prompted to speak out in support of Mr Charles because he believes the former head would have signed a compromise agreement, effectively gagging him and preventing him from defending himself.

A compromise agreement may have involved Mr Charles receiving a “golden handshake” to agree to leave the school.

Mr Taylor added: “This kind of thing can ruin people’s careers but I hope that doesn’t happen in Ian’s case.

“I sincerely hope that he manages to secure another headship and if it’s in another county that will be a great loss for Lincolnshire.

“I spoke to him a few weeks ago and offered to give him a character reference if he needed it.

“I wish him the very best in whatever he decides to do now.”

• The Lincolnshire Free Press has left messages with chairman of the governors Paul Grooms but he hadn’t replied as we went to press.