Serious concerns of outgoing Basildon Academies head laid bare in damning letter to school governors

Southend Standard: Serious concerns of outgoing Basildon Academies head laid bare in damning letter to school governors Serious concerns of outgoing Basildon Academies head laid bare in damning letter to school governors

A CATALOGUE of serious concerns and failings were raised by the outgoing headteacher of the Basildon Academies in a damning letter to the chairman of governors.

In an explosive letter which was leaked to the Echo, Dr Rory Fox, said he had concerns over the sponsor's educational expertise and how governance at the school was also undermining his attempts to take it forward.

Dr Fox, who took garden leave earlier this month after resigning in October, sent a letter to chairman of governors Les Livermore and picked out school sponsor Martin Finegold, who is an American banker and millionaire, for his lack of experience in the education sector and for failing to get outside help for the school.

Dr Fox, who took over as headteacher in September 2011, also claimed his attempts to improve science and English were undermined by Mr Livermore and that he was threatened with disciplinary action if he attempted to get outside help.

In his letter, Dr Fox, said: “I have raised my concerns about the inadequacy of the sponsor’s support.

"We know that this is a matter of concern to the DFE as they have several times said to us that we should consider merging with a bigger academy chain which has a better capacity to support the Academies.

“You and the sponsor have resisted this, yet speaking as the principal of the two Academies I honestly have no idea what, if any, significant educational support the Sponsor provides to our Academies.

“As far as I can tell, I am leading schools out of special measures with no significant educational support at all from the sponsor.”

The Academies which teaches across two sites- Timberlog Close, Basildon and Wickford Avenue, Pitsea- went into special measures in March.

In the school’s latest monitoring report in September Dr Fox is praised by the inspectors, it said: “As a result of the Principal’s clear vision and strong leadership, inadequate teaching has been largely eliminated as a result of good coaching and professional development, or where teachers have been unable to improve, robust action to remove them.”

Despite this Dr Fox, who was paid in the region of £120,000, quit over a dispute about how he wanted to take the school forward and he was supposed to leave in April.

Two weeks ago he was gagged from speaking to the press and he was marched off the site and put on gardening leave.

His position has been temporarily taken up by Bev Bell, who is the former head of the Crest Girls' Academy, in Brent, who started the job on Monday.

Mrs Bell, who will be in post until July, runs her own education consultancy business.

Dr Fox said in the letter: “I do not feel that the current sponsorship arrangements are in the best educational interests of the children of Basildon.”

He said he thought the school had reached the point where the “current sponsorship arrangements” were not working or doing anything “educationally significant” for the children.”

The Echo sent a copy of the letter to the Department of Education and a spokesman said: “We are very concerned by the performance of these schools. We have been working with the Basildon Academies since last October and we have made clear the action they need to take to turn around both Academies quickly.

“The Academy Trust has recruited an interim Principal with a proven track record and has sought additional external expertise. They report that they are now above the floor standards for the first time. We and Ofsted will continue to closely monitor the schools to ensure that their pupils are getting the education they deserve.”

LES LIVERMORE, CHAIRMAN OF THE GOVERNORS, HITS BACK AT ALLEGATIONS

THE chairman of the governors at the Basildon Academies, Les Livermore, has defended the claims made by Dr Fox in his letter that the current curriculum in place is inadequate.


Mr Livermore said the curriculum was put in place by Dr Fox and that it had been adopted by the governing body.


He said: “It is therefore somewhat difficult for me to understand the comments that our current curriculum is in some way not fit for purpose when this is the very curriculum that was recommended by the principal and adopted by the Governing Body.”


Mr Livermore also said that Dr Fox was at no time stopped by the governing body from seeking help from outside bodies and he denied that Dr Fox was ever threatened with disciplinary action which would undermine attempts to seek help from those bodies.


Academy sponsor Mr Finegold was given three days to answer questions put forward by the Echo and he emailed back saying could all questions be directed to Mr Livermore.
 

The Echo also tried to call Mr Finegold on several occasions at his London office and after sending the questions to Mr Livermore to answer on behalf of the sponsor Mr Livermore said “I am not a spokesman for the sponsor”.
 

Mr Livermore said he was investigating how the letter came into the possession of the Echo and he said the letter contained “various inaccuracies” and “distorted” views that did not reflect the opinions of himself, his fellow governors or those members of the senior leadership team he had spoken to.
 

Mr Livermore defended claims from Dr Fox that he had been undermined in his attempts to move the academy forward and he said those views were “completely untrue and the isolated view of an employee who has resigned”.
 

He added: “I cannot recall at any time prior to his resignation, did Dr Fox ever raise any concerns about the structure or operation of the Governing Body with me.”

Comments (11)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

3:04pm Wed 28 Nov 12

spectator says...

Improvements in teaching, learning and behaviour were patently obvious to all who work or learn in the academies since Dr. Fox took over. Not everything was right but it was certainly an enormous improvement from the shambles he inherited, and it was still early days. It's always been an issue about the sponsor, Martin Finegold: is he untouchable, can he only speak through Les Livermore,? Neither have the confidence of staff or parents either before or during Rory Fox's headship. Something must be done about them pdq. Get rid of them and reinstate Fox, that would be the simplest solution.
Improvements in teaching, learning and behaviour were patently obvious to all who work or learn in the academies since Dr. Fox took over. Not everything was right but it was certainly an enormous improvement from the shambles he inherited, and it was still early days. It's always been an issue about the sponsor, Martin Finegold: is he untouchable, can he only speak through Les Livermore,? Neither have the confidence of staff or parents either before or during Rory Fox's headship. Something must be done about them pdq. Get rid of them and reinstate Fox, that would be the simplest solution. spectator

7:07pm Wed 28 Nov 12

Olivia2847 says...

spectator wrote:
Improvements in teaching, learning and behaviour were patently obvious to all who work or learn in the academies since Dr. Fox took over. Not everything was right but it was certainly an enormous improvement from the shambles he inherited, and it was still early days. It's always been an issue about the sponsor, Martin Finegold: is he untouchable, can he only speak through Les Livermore,? Neither have the confidence of staff or parents either before or during Rory Fox's headship. Something must be done about them pdq. Get rid of them and reinstate Fox, that would be the simplest solution.
I feel that both Livermore's and Finegold's position is now untenable and they should,seriously consider their status within this organisation. Bring Dr Fox back for a start off and let him get on with it ....
[quote][p][bold]spectator[/bold] wrote: Improvements in teaching, learning and behaviour were patently obvious to all who work or learn in the academies since Dr. Fox took over. Not everything was right but it was certainly an enormous improvement from the shambles he inherited, and it was still early days. It's always been an issue about the sponsor, Martin Finegold: is he untouchable, can he only speak through Les Livermore,? Neither have the confidence of staff or parents either before or during Rory Fox's headship. Something must be done about them pdq. Get rid of them and reinstate Fox, that would be the simplest solution.[/p][/quote]I feel that both Livermore's and Finegold's position is now untenable and they should,seriously consider their status within this organisation. Bring Dr Fox back for a start off and let him get on with it .... Olivia2847

7:45pm Wed 28 Nov 12

spectator says...

I totally agree. I guess it's too late to bring back Dr Fox, he's probably had enough of these two, same as everyone else. How long will Bev. Bell last, although she is only "interim". Apparently Alan Roach was at daggers drawn with Les Livermore as well. Just how do you get rid of a CEO/Chair of Governors and a "sponsor"whose contribution in any way shape or form is minimal/zero. They should not be allowed to dictate to this school. They have now done untold damage which will take a very long time to repair.I guess that just don't give a hoot.
I totally agree. I guess it's too late to bring back Dr Fox, he's probably had enough of these two, same as everyone else. How long will Bev. Bell last, although she is only "interim". Apparently Alan Roach was at daggers drawn with Les Livermore as well. Just how do you get rid of a CEO/Chair of Governors and a "sponsor"whose contribution in any way shape or form is minimal/zero. They should not be allowed to dictate to this school. They have now done untold damage which will take a very long time to repair.I guess that just don't give a hoot. spectator

8:01pm Wed 28 Nov 12

caroljb says...

Les Livermore has got rid of 3 head teachers, Mr Oddy, Mr Roach, Dr Fox.
GET RID OF THIS MAN NOW!!!!
Les Livermore has got rid of 3 head teachers, Mr Oddy, Mr Roach, Dr Fox. GET RID OF THIS MAN NOW!!!! caroljb

9:04pm Wed 28 Nov 12

daninorth says...

Why am I not surprised....blame ...blame but not one takes responsibility for this mess which is the Basildon academy. Martin Finegold doesn't give a hoot about these poor children, he's in it for the money ..as for mr Livermore he's a 'paid 'governor.. Mr Gove your great academies are NOT working,their status is just making them untouchable.
Academies do not have the same rules they need to abide by,like other schools, as in 'freedom of imformation' .. they can also sell their playing fields without the same legislation as local authority schools,it is disgraceful & you know it...in your rush to change as many into academies you have neglected your responsibilities to make sure the children come first..it's disgusting & shameful,maybe to admit this hideous mistake will cause uproar but atleast you can then deal with this mess you have caused..
Why am I not surprised....blame ...blame but not one takes responsibility for this mess which is the Basildon academy. Martin Finegold doesn't give a hoot about these poor children, he's in it for the money ..as for mr Livermore he's a 'paid 'governor.. Mr Gove your great academies are NOT working,their status is just making them untouchable. Academies do not have the same rules they need to abide by,like other schools, as in 'freedom of imformation' .. they can also sell their playing fields without the same legislation as local authority schools,it is disgraceful & you know it...in your rush to change as many into academies you have neglected your responsibilities to make sure the children come first..it's disgusting & shameful,maybe to admit this hideous mistake will cause uproar but atleast you can then deal with this mess you have caused.. daninorth

3:16pm Thu 29 Nov 12

Olivia2847 says...

daninorth wrote:
Why am I not surprised....blame ...blame but not one takes responsibility for this mess which is the Basildon academy. Martin Finegold doesn't give a hoot about these poor children, he's in it for the money ..as for mr Livermore he's a 'paid 'governor.. Mr Gove your great academies are NOT working,their status is just making them untouchable.
Academies do not have the same rules they need to abide by,like other schools, as in 'freedom of imformation' .. they can also sell their playing fields without the same legislation as local authority schools,it is disgraceful & you know it...in your rush to change as many into academies you have neglected your responsibilities to make sure the children come first..it's disgusting & shameful,maybe to admit this hideous mistake will cause uproar but atleast you can then deal with this mess you have caused..
Dani - they must be moderated by someone surely?
[quote][p][bold]daninorth[/bold] wrote: Why am I not surprised....blame ...blame but not one takes responsibility for this mess which is the Basildon academy. Martin Finegold doesn't give a hoot about these poor children, he's in it for the money ..as for mr Livermore he's a 'paid 'governor.. Mr Gove your great academies are NOT working,their status is just making them untouchable. Academies do not have the same rules they need to abide by,like other schools, as in 'freedom of imformation' .. they can also sell their playing fields without the same legislation as local authority schools,it is disgraceful & you know it...in your rush to change as many into academies you have neglected your responsibilities to make sure the children come first..it's disgusting & shameful,maybe to admit this hideous mistake will cause uproar but atleast you can then deal with this mess you have caused..[/p][/quote]Dani - they must be moderated by someone surely? Olivia2847

10:33pm Thu 29 Nov 12

daninorth says...

Not in the same way as local authority schools, their not called 'free schools' for nothing,you will be amazed how 'free' from control they are,I was & am shocked by how much they can get away with, no accountability is the biggest problem parents face..(.a can of worms) do a little research on academies & you will be shocked how many organisations can not intervene because of this status..the efa do not have the man power to monitor all these academies, it's a shambles
Not in the same way as local authority schools, their not called 'free schools' for nothing,you will be amazed how 'free' from control they are,I was & am shocked by how much they can get away with, no accountability is the biggest problem parents face..(.a can of worms) do a little research on academies & you will be shocked how many organisations can not intervene because of this status..the efa do not have the man power to monitor all these academies, it's a shambles daninorth

9:54am Fri 30 Nov 12

spectator says...

Olivia, have a look on the Anti Academies website - all will be revealed!
Olivia, have a look on the Anti Academies website - all will be revealed! spectator

9:54am Fri 30 Nov 12

spectator says...

Olivia, have a look on the Anti Academies website - all will be revealed!
Olivia, have a look on the Anti Academies website - all will be revealed! spectator

10:56am Fri 30 Nov 12

daninorth says...

http://antiacademies
.org.uk/Pre-2010/why
-we-oppose-academies
/
http://antiacademies .org.uk/Pre-2010/why -we-oppose-academies / daninorth

4:59pm Sat 1 Dec 12

Olivia2847 says...

spectator wrote:
Olivia, have a look on the Anti Academies website - all will be revealed!
Crickey who wrote all that stuff? Levinson.
[quote][p][bold]spectator[/bold] wrote: Olivia, have a look on the Anti Academies website - all will be revealed![/p][/quote]Crickey who wrote all that stuff? Levinson. Olivia2847

Comments are closed on this article.

click2find

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree