It would appear that the independent sector is at death’s door and the (tragic) closing of St Bees School, Cumbria was used as the leading case study to prove the point. The former Chair of Governors’ statement regarding the challenges that the school had faced, not least owing to its distant location, were - albeit respectfully - called into question with more headline-grabbing suggestions of ‘poor management’ being suggested.
'Poor management’ that has apparently grown the numbers in that isolated school since 2012 seems more than a little paradoxical. It is unfortunate that the article did not consider what a difficult time the staff as well as the parents and pupils in that school experienced, not least a Head who had to implement the Governors’ wishes. Most people would acknowledge that any Senior Leadership role can be isolating whether in Schools or in any other organisation; being Head of St Bees will have been as remote an experience as the geographical position of the school itself. Some of us will have experienced telling a school community bad news - the death of a pupil or staff member - truly awful moments. Telling pupils, staff and parents that a school is closing must also be numbingly difficult; who was supporting the messenger?
It is unfortunate too, that the article did not mention that the Head worked tirelessly with parents to find places for the pupils at St Bees in other schools and that he similarly worked tirelessly to find jobs for his staff in other schools. It might not have been fashionable to explore this alternate view but it would have been more responsible to acknowledge it.