HEADTEACHERS and education chiefs are among a hit squad sent in to clear up the crisis at Futures Community College, the Echo can reveal.
Headteacher Stuart Reynolds is being helped by figures including Dr Paul Hayman, head of Westcliff High School for Girls; Margaret Wilson, head at King John School, in Thundersley; and Murray Foster, former leader of Southend Council.
The new interim executive board has replaced the board of governors after another poor Ofsted report.
Worried parents claim classes at the college in Southchurch Boulevard, Southend, are being run without teachers due to widespread staff absence while the school website shows maths, English and science do not have subject leaders.
Mr Reynolds said the board was already working to improve standards and is offering GCSE pupils extra lessons to help them before taking exams this summer.
He said: “The children are our priority, without doubt. How they do is of utmost importance to the school. Students are the school.
“We are here to support their learning and Paul Hayman is in school regularly to do just that. It is good to have a critical friend to make sure we have as much impact as quickly as possible.
“We intend to run support classes for students, like intervention to boost their grades. It is a strategy I have used to bring improvements in other schools.”
He declined to answer questions about staff absence or claims by unions of some teachers and support staff being warned they were at risk of redundancy. Mr Reynolds, who helped turn around James Hornsby High School, in Laindon, said: “The interim executive board ismade up of a group experienced in bringing about school improvements.
“We are actively recruiting to empty posts and are supporting staff to get them back to work as quickly as possible.”
One mum, who asked not to be named, said she was worried about the future of her daughter in Year 11.
She said: “Half of her teachers weren’t at last week’s parents’ evening. The teaching just hasn’t been up to scratch.
“Her maths and ICT teachers never seem to be there. There are supply teachers, but they write a few bits on the board and let the students get on with it. It’s not teaching “When you try to complain, you can get no higher than the head of year. It’s a vital year and it’s becoming more stressful.”
THE TEAM AIMING TO TURN THE SCHOOL AROUND
THE interim executive board is:
John Grover – chairman, also chairman of governors at West Leigh Junior School .
Stuart Reynolds – headteacher.
Dr Paul Hayman – head of Westcliff High School for Girls. Responsible for the reporting and monitoring of leadership, personnel and school improvement.
Neil Bates – chief executive of Prospsects Learning Foundation in Southend. Responsible for behaviour and safeguarding, special educational needs and looked after children
Murray Foster – chairman of Westcliff High School for Girls, ex- Southend Council leader. Responsible for reporting and monitoring of finance .
Margaret Wilson – head at King John School, Thundersley. Responsible for reporting and monitoring of teaching and learning ! Jane Theadom – Southend Council’s head of learning ! Julie Lapslie – clerk from Essex Clerks’ Association.
Jane Theadom said: “The members are all highly-experienced and well-qualified to provide support and challenge to the headteacher and his team as they focus on the rapid improvement now needed.”