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School calls for support from parents over staff departure

School calls for support from parents over staff departure

Thursday 29 December 2022

School calls for support from parents over staff departure

Thursday 29 December 2022


Beaulieu has urged parents to support the school after some said they would boycott the first day of next term, in a show of support for a member of staff who has recently left.

Pippa Davidson-Coleshill, who is the Chief Operating Officer at Beaulieu Convent School, confirmed that Andrea Firby, Head of School, had taken voluntary redundancy.

The COO described Mrs Firby as “the face of Beaulieu for many years” who “led the interaction with parents”. However, Mrs Davidson-Coleshill explained that Mrs Firby “did not teach secondary lessons” and therefore said that her departure “will not have an effect on pupils on a day-to-day basis."

Mrs Davidson-Coleshill also confirmed that the school was aware some parents were saying they would keep their children off school on the first day of term as a protest, and said: “We would urge them to support us, as what we are doing is in the best interests of the pupils and parents.

“Our commitment to them is to invest in front-facing teaching, and so something has got to give, as like all businesses we cannot have it all.”

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

Chris Beirne, Headmaster and CEO of Beaulieu School said: “The Board of Directors issued an announcement to our parents last week following their desire to support the wishes of Mrs Firby. Matters pertaining to this are confidential and legally privileged.” 

The announcement from the Board of Directors outlines that Mr Beirne has confirmed his intention to retire, but has agreed with the Board to extend this until the end of December 2024, to ensure a period of time of hand over to his successor.

The Board's announcement to parents confirmed that it will be recruiting for Mr Beirne’s replacement from Easter 2023 and hope to have someone in place for September 2024. 

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Pictured: Mr Beirne, current CEO and Headmaster, is also planning to leave the school to retire in 2024.

The Board then explained that it was felt that Mr Beirne’s current role as both Headmaster and CEO should also be amalgamated with the Head of Secondary role.

“A redundancy review was therefore considered with respect to the Head of Secondary role and Andrea Firby volunteered to take redundancy. 

“We thank Mrs Firby for her commitment and dedication to Beaulieu during her time with us and wish her well for the future. “

The announcement went on to explain that “no redundancy of teaching staff is being considered” and that the School is focussed on “delivering investment in our teaching capabilities” through “the streamlining of the senior management”.

Sharing the letter issued to parents, Mrs Davidson-Coleshill said: “For legal reasons this is what was agreed by Mrs Firby and her lawyers, and this is all we are permitted to say at this time. 

“We are providing some more information to parents as they raise questions.”

Parents and guardians of students at Beaulieu Convent School have been invited to a meeting on Thursday 26 January where Beaulieu’s Senior Leadership Team will be providing a presentation outlining more information and endeavouring to answer any questions.

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