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Diocese of Portsmouth "sorry" to hear about Beaulieu concerns

Diocese of Portsmouth

Wednesday 11 January 2023

Diocese of Portsmouth "sorry" to hear about Beaulieu concerns

Wednesday 11 January 2023


The Diocese of Portsmouth, which the Catholic Church in Jersey falls under, says it is monitoring the situation at Beaulieu School after a controversial management restructure led parents to call for an independent review.

A statement issued yesterday read: “We are sorry to hear that parents have raised concerns about Beaulieu school. Beaulieu is an Independent Charity that will follow the regulations laid out by Jersey charity law.

“The Catholic Diocese of Portsmouth has been reassured that the school has acted in accordance with its charitable aims and procedures.

"The Diocese works with colleagues to ensure that the aims of the school are met.” 

The statement also confirmed that there has been no recent formal inspection of the school by the Diocese of Portsmouth.

“We will continue to work with the leadership of the school to achieve the best outcomes for all the pupils,” it concluded.

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Pictured: Mr Beirne, who recently stepped down as CEO and Headmaster to become Executive Director, is also planning to leave the school to retire in 2024.

The statement follows news that Beaulieu headteacher Chris Beirne stepped down "with immediate effect" last week and will instead take on a "less visible" role in the school as Executive Director.

His move came amid criticism over head of school Andrea Firby’s exit, which prompted a social media backlash against senior management and claims from several parents that they would keep their children at home on the first day of term in protest. 

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" – had also been signed by almost 1,000 people.

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Pictured: A petition started by "concerned parents" in support of Mrs Firby has gained almost 1,000 signatures.

A group of parents said last week that their "trust and confidence" in the school had been "eroded". They complained that there hadn't been sufficient communication about the reasons behind the restructure, and called for an independent review of management governance to be carried out either by the Diocese of Portsmouth, the Government or another third party.

The NASUWT union representing teachers at Beaulieu also previously expressed "mounting" concerns about the way the school is being run and described an "increasingly difficult" working environment for its members.

However, Beaulieu school stressed that the popular member of staff took voluntary redundancy as part of a process to streamline senior management and ensure further investment in frontline teaching.

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