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Medway academy boss suspended

Medway academy super head Denise Shepherd has been suspended, The Thinking Schools Academy Trust (TSAT) has confirmed.

The Trust, which runs seven Medway schools, announced the suspension of their chief executive today, stating the decision was taken following "an allegation from an individual".

The news follows reports that a whistleblower within the Trust raised concerns over her dealings with staff emails and an external inspection report.

Denise Shepherd, chief executive of the Thinking Schools Academy Trust
Denise Shepherd, chief executive of the Thinking Schools Academy Trust

A statement from the Trust released today said: "Recently the Board received an allegation from an individual about the Chief Executive, Denise Shepherd. The Trust, which is duty bound to investigate any allegation, took the decision to suspend Ms Shepherd whilst it investigated the substance of the allegation."

The Trust said it was unable to make any further comment on details of the allegation, but said it had taken steps to ensure the education of the pupils is not impacted affected.

Stuart Gardner the previous Executive Head of Chatham Grammar School for Boys and The Victory Academy is to assume the role of Director of Secondary Education in TSAT, and will be supported by Claire Stevens who is already the Director of Primary Education in TSAT.

"Both Stuart and Claire will lead on their respective phases to ensure that TSAT Academies continue on their journey of delivering improved outcomes to all its pupils," added the statement.

Ms Shepherd is thought to have been suspended last month from the £215,000 role with TSAT, which is responsible for running All Faiths Children’s Academy in Strood, Chatham Grammar School for Boys, Gordon Infant and Junior Schools in Strood, New Horizons Children’s Academy and The Victory Academy in Chatham, and Rochester Grammar School.

She is quoted on the Trust's website as saying: "Our success is due to our strong educational vision of fully integrated thinking schools, our outstanding and driven leaders, dedicated teachers and support staff backed by a committed team of governors.

"The greatest asset in our Trust is our staff."

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