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Beaulieu parents call for review as "trust and confidence eroded"

Beaulieu parents call for review as

Friday 06 January 2023

Beaulieu parents call for review as "trust and confidence eroded"

Friday 06 January 2023


A newly-formed committee of Beaulieu parents who say their "trust and confidence" in the school has been "eroded" after a controversial management restructure are calling for an independent review.

Earlier this week a letter was sent to parents notifying them that Beaulieu Head Teacher Chris Beirne had stepped down and that secondary Deputy Head Paul Robinson would undertake the role of acting head teacher "with immediate effect".

It also said that a new position would soon be advertised to replace that held by Mr Beirne and former head of secondary Andrea Firby.

The move comes amid criticism sparked by the latter's recent departure.

A petition describing Mrs Firby as a "stalwart" of the Beaulieu community – calling for the resignation of the school's chief executive, chief operating officer "and the remaining trustees" – has also been signed by close to 1,000 people.

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Pictured: Mrs Firby has been "the face of Beaulieu" for over a decade.

Henry Burton, a Beaulieu School parent who is coordinating the formation of the new committee, said it is "vital" that confidence exists between parents and the governance team at the very top of the school.

"Sadly, this trust and confidence has been eroded in light of recent events and the manner in which these matters have been handled and communicated to
parents.

"Many parents now feel that any assurances provided by the current governance team are unlikely to repair that trust and confidence, and only an
independent review of recent events and governance procedures can do so," he said.

Mr Burton explained that the committee has not been formed to coordinate any kind of protest or force the departure of any specific member of staff.

He added that the committee was seeking legal advise to understand who should carry out a review.

"The remit of the committee is to seek an independent review of the school's governance, specifically looking at the board of trustees and their duties of independent oversight and control of the school," he said.

"The purpose of the committee is to restore trust and confidence between parents and trustees, but also to ensure that the school can emerge from the events of the past few weeks stronger than ever and continue to build on providing the excellent and nurturing education that our daughters enjoy so much," he added.

Another statement issued on behalf of a group of parents expressed concerned about the management of the school.

They said: "These concerns span across financial management, behaviour of executive leaders, transparency, communication, staff attrition and turnover, culture, and most importantly the delivery of a nurturing and quality education for our children."

They added: "The management have shown very little desire to work with parents to ease our growing anxieties and there have been frequent contradictions within their communications."

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