Stratford head takes early retirement

29th March 1996 at 00:00
Anne Snelling, head of the troubled Stratford grant-maintained school in east London, is leaving on an enhanced pension.

Mrs Snelling, who was awarded an OBE three years ago after she fought off attempts to oust her by Asian governors, will retire at the end of the summer term. She will be 50. Details of her retirement package are unknown. Neither the Grant-Maintained Schools Centre nor the Funding Agency for Schools, which administers GM finance, had information.

Governors, who can apply to the FAS for a "restructuring" grant, would not discuss it and Mrs Snelling, who has been head of Stratford for five years, declined to speak to The TES. Her job is being advertised at Pounds 38, 391 plus London allowance.

She has been the centre of a series of legal actions, bitter arguments with governors over the management of the school and racial tension.

Stratford has been dogged by controversy since it opted out of the control of Newham council in 1991. It was promoted initially by ministers as an inner-city flagship but proved an embarrassment as it turned into a battleground between Mrs Snelling and a group of mainly Muslim governors.

They demanded a greater role in running the school and made it clear that they wanted to sack her. But after months of wrangling, legal action and intervention from ministers they were forced to resign and apologise to Mrs Snelling.

Trouble struck again two years ago when it became the first GM school to fail an inspection by the Office for Standards in Education and was found to have poor exam results and a Pounds 140,000 deficit.

It was only taken off the failing schools list in December.

Yakub Umer, chair of governors, said Mrs Snelling's decision to leave had come as a surprise. "Her reasons were that now the school's future is guaranteed and she has brought the school out of special measures and its exam results have improved quite dramatically, she believes that the school is in a good position to be led by another headteacher."

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