Entire board of governors walk out over row with County Hall over running of school

Entire board of governors walk out over row with County Hall over running of school

All 12 governors at St Paul’s Primary School in Rusthall have walked out after they claim KCC has repeatedly ‘moved the goalposts’ when it came to the running and funding of the school.

The voluntary aided school, which is funded by both KCC and the local diocese, educates just over 100 pupils and sits on Rusthall high street.

Last Thursday, the governing board voted by a majority to resign with immediate effect.

In a joint statement, the governors said: “Having studied and discussed at length the school’s current situation and challenges, together with the communications and expectations placed upon us by Kent County Council, the collective agreement is that we are unable to achieve what is being asked of us as a board.

“To enable the school to thrive in the direction that Kent County Council expects it to go, for the pupils and the community, we are relinquishing our duties to enable the Council to appoint a board with the necessary strategic skill bases to achieve and realise their vision.

“Each of us want the very best for Rusthall St Paul’s and hope a way can be found to ensure that it remains a successful and viable school in the heart of this vibrant community. The pupils and people of Rusthall deserve it.

“We extend our sincere thanks and congratulations to the head teacher, the staff, the current and former pupils as well as the wider community for the work and effort put into Rusthall St Paul’s during the period we were in governance.

“We are proud to have played a role in helping lay the foundations for strong academic results and create a fantastic school at the heart of Rusthall.”

One of the governors, told the Times the school’s most recent Ofsted report was rated as ‘good’, but that indecision at KCC made it impossible to run the school.

“The financial pressures we have been under have been immense and KCC keep moving the goal posts as to how and what we can spend the money on.

“Something gets agreed and then six months later KCC change their mind. It has meant we have been unable to even put in place a three-year plan. It has made the situation untenable.”

He continued: “Everybody wants the best for the school, and this is the last thing we wanted to do, but clearly if KCC do not think us as volunteers are doing the job they want us to do, then they will have to get somebody else in to run it.”

KCC said they were ‘disappointed’ by the decision of the governors to resign en masse.

Christine McInnes, the authority’s Director of Education, said: “Kent County Council’s approach to school improvement is to build a supportive culture in which we will jointly work with school leaders to drive improvement for the benefit of pupils, parents, and carers. 

“We are disappointed that the governing body of St Paul’s Church of England Primary School has chosen to resign at such short notice. We will continue to work with the school’s senior leadership team to ensure that moving forward there is a strong base from which the best outcomes for the whole school community can be achieved.”  

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