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Shock Kent County Council figures reveal 21 school head teachers removed in two years

More than 20 head teachers have been quietly removed from their classrooms at schools across Kent in the last two years.

The shock figures can be exclusively revealed following a Freedom of Information request to Kent County Council.

A total of 21 leaders were removed from their posts and were either suspended or put on gardening leave.

Members of the NUT are going on strike as part of a national day of action. Picture: Library image
Members of the NUT are going on strike as part of a national day of action. Picture: Library image

Of these, 15 were told to go due to performance reasons, five on grounds of conduct and one for an issue not disclosed.

Eleven of those 21 went shortly after critical Ofsted visits.

KCC's response covers all 376 primaries and the 33 secondary schools under its control.

But independent education adviser Peter Read said he understood a number of extra head teachers had been encouraged to leave voluntarily.

He put this at 40 since September, but KCC could not confirm or deny this figure.

Independent education adviser Peter Read
Independent education adviser Peter Read

One case where a head teacher has suddenly left is St Francis Catholic Primary School in Queens Road, Maidstone.

The school was put into special measures in March 2013. Head teacher David Bray was suspended and acting head Elisabeth Blanden is still in post.

Parent Zoe Taylor, 41, said: "I was shocked when I heard about Mr Bray – I felt for him and his family and didn't like the way they went about it.

"After all teachers are human beings even if they were not performing.

"It made parents worry something serious and untoward had happened, even though it hadn't."

She added her two children were very happy at the school.

Another parent, who did not want to be named, said: "I'm worried about teachers being taken out of the classroom.

"It was also worrying that the children did not know what happened to the previous head teacher."

Mr Read said: "There is a level of fear among many heads that they will lose their jobs.

"Some shouldn't be in post, but if that many heads are not up to the job, who on earth is responsible for appointing them in the first place?

"People are being brought in from other schools – that is a fundamental issue."

Cllr Roger Gough, Kent County Council cabinet member for education
Cllr Roger Gough, Kent County Council cabinet member for education

KCC pointed to Department for Education guidelines that state if a school is judged as having weak or inadequate leadership, either the governors or members of an Interim Executive Board – often brought in after a change of leadership – are expected to re-examine the performance of the head involved.

Seven of these special boards have been drafted in at Kent schools.

KCC said it had a supportive structure and a leadership programme for head teachers.

Roger Gough, cabinet member for education and health reform, said: "We currently have no school in Kent that does not have a head teacher or acting head in place.

"We work closely with schools that are judged to be inadequate and those that most require improvement.

"On occasions this requires a change of leadership."

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