Parents reassured over unexplained ‘absence’ of Skegness Academy headteacher

Parents have been informed of the  of Skegness Acedemy principal Jo Edwards. ANL-171016-070312001
Parents have been informed of the of Skegness Acedemy principal Jo Edwards. ANL-171016-070312001

Students at Skegness Academy are beginning the week under new leadership following the unexplained absence of their headteacher.

Parents received a letter from the school’s sponsor the Greenwood Academies Trust on Friday informing them of the ‘current absence’ of Jo Edwards.

As a Trust, we have been able to call upon the expertise of one of our most experienced members of staff, Mr Peter Holyk who will provide leadership support for the academy

Chief executive of Greenwood Academies Trust, Wayne Norrie

The letter from chief executive of Greenwood Academies Trust, Wayne Norrie, notifies parents the former principal of Nottingham Girls’ Academy Peter Holyk will step in during Mrs Edwards’ absence.

This is the second time in recent years parents have been reassured following the absence of a headteacher from Skegness Academy.

In October 2015 Geoff Wilson left the academy after only months in the post, to be replaced by Ben Pearce as acting principal.

Mrs Edwards, who had been education advisor for the School Partnership Trust, had high hopes for the progress of the school when she took over as headteacher in September last year.

However, by February this year Greenwood Academies Trust announced it would be quitting as sponsor only to change its mind later in the year when a replacement could not be found.

Further blows came in May when Ofsted found the school to be ‘inadequate’ and in July it was was placed in special measures for failing its pupils. A statement at the time said: “The governance of the school is inadequate. Standards have declined dramatically since the previous inspection.”

The decline was underlined last week when the Government issued its Key Stage 4 results, showing the school to be one of the worst performing in the district.

This would have come as no surprise to Mrs Edwards, who said following the GCSE results: “Skegness Academy has faced significant uncertainty this year whilst also managing the national changes in the exam structures.

“This has impacted on our Key Stage 4 results which are not as strong as we would wish them to be.

However, in its attempt to reassure parents in the letter they received last week, Mr Norrie wrote: “As a Trust, we have been able to call upon the expertise of one of our most experienced members of staff, Mr Peter Holyk who will provide leadership support for the academy.

“In particular, he was until recently, the principal of Nottingham Girls’ Academy, which is also part of our Trust, and confirmed by Ofsted as “good” in its most recent inspection.

“Please be assured, Peter will continue to keep the focus of working with staff and pupils at Skegness Academy, to raise standards and improve behaviour.”

A statement to the Standard from Greenwood Academies Trust this morning provided more reassurance for parents but failed to explain Mrs Edwards’ absence.

It said: ““The principal is currently absent from the Academy, but as a Trust we have been able to call upon the expertise of one of our most experienced members of staff, Mr Peter Holyk, who will provide leadership support for the academy during this temporary absence.

“Peter is a superb and highly experienced school leader with a long-standing track record of success. In particular he was until recently the Principal of Nottingham Girls’ Academy, also part of our Trust and confirmed by Ofsted as again ‘Good’ in its most recent inspection.

“We would like to reassure parents, carers and staff, that we will continue to keep the focus of working on our two key priorities to raise standards and improve behaviour.”