Head of academy stands down before it opens after his old school is damned by Ofsted

23rd April 2010 at 01:00
Principal turns his back on new job as special measures are imposed at secondary he left

A headteacher has left his job in charge of an academy before it has opened after his previous school was plunged into special measures.

Martin Cain has agreed to walk away from his role at Nuneaton Academy in Warwickshire, which is due to open in September, just weeks after a damning Ofsted report on Frank F Harrison Engineering College in Walsall.

Inspectors described the school, which was visited shortly after Mr Cain left in January, as "failing to give its students an acceptable standard of education", with fewer than 30 per cent achieving five good GCSEs including English and maths.

"The new interim headteacher has quickly identified a number of issues which are in need of immediate attention," the report, published last month, said.

The quality of teaching, support for children with special educational needs, attendance and the quality of school management were all heavily criticised in the report.

"Very limited progress has been made on the areas for improvement from the previous inspection and in embedding improvements to the quality of teaching," it said.

Since publication of the report last month, Mr Cain's suitability to lead the #163;30 million academy, which will be formed by the merger of two existing schools, had been called into question.

Mr Cain and the school's sponsor, North Warwickshire and Hinckley College, have now "agreed that it is in the best interests of the project that he steps down from the position of academy principal designate with immediate effect".

The school said in a statement: "This decision has been taken further to the publication of a recent Ofsted report concerning an inspection at his previous school, which took place in January, when he was no longer at the school."

An interim leadership team will be put in place to continue preparing for the school's opening, it added.

Marion Plant, the college principal and chief executive, said she was "saddened" by Mr Cain's departure and that he had worked "tirelessly" for the academy.

"Under his leadership, clear progress has been made which has driven the project forward significantly and reinforces the reasons he was appointed to the post," she said.

"The college would like to reassure all stakeholders - including the young people who will attend the academy from September - that the best interests of the students are at the heart of this project.

"The process of searching for and recruiting a new leader for the academy is now under way."

Nuneaton Academy will be created by the merger of Manor Park School and Alderman Smith School, providing places for 1,200 students.

It will continue to use both sites from September until a new school building is completed.

Concerns have been raised previously about the high turnover of heads at academies. The United Learning Trust, the biggest academy sponsor, was criticised after more than half of its principals left their jobs within two years of their schools opening.

There have been a number of examples in other academies where leaders have left their jobs after just one or two terms in charge.

John Dunford, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said: "It can be very embarrassing for a governing body to have appointed somebody who is then heavily criticised by Ofsted in their previous school."

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