SOUTHEND Council and a teachers’ union have defended the appointment of Shoeburyness High School’s head to turn around a Southend school.

Mark Schofield was given the executive head role at Cecil Jones College by the council when former headteacher Pauline Harris resigned at the end of term.

She brought the school out of special measures in 2012.

A prominent member of the community has now raised questions about the choice of Mr Schofield, who will be responsible for both schools with a total pupil roll of 3,000.

The concerned man, who asked to remain anonymous, holds a senior role in Southend borough and suggested Shoeburyness High needs to concentrate on improving its own results before taking on a second school.

Its five A* to C grades including English and maths is 44 per cent, up 2 per cent on the previous year.

He said: “Usually someone who runs an outstanding school takes on a role like this, but Shoeburyness High is not outstanding, it is rated good.

“Its ownGCSE results are 44 per cent against a national target of 45 per cent. Statistics don’t lie.

“I’d say Mr Schofield needs to get his own house in order as it’s not meeting Government standards.

“It’s a bizarre choice for me. I’m not questioning Mr Schofield’s abilities, but I question the council which appointed him “I believe this is a reasonable concern to raise. What will the impact be on the pupils in his own school and is this is the right solution for Cecil Jones?”

However, both the council and the National Union of Teachers have defended the decision.

Jerry Glazier, NUT regional representative, said: “Shoeburyness High has done extremely well over the past few years to improve standards and all in a challenging part of the borough.

“He has shown real capability to do what he can to get maximum achievements from pupils.

“Judging by GCSE results alone is not the best way. It was one of the top 100 most improved schools in the country.”

James Courtenay, councillor responsible for children and learning, said: “This is a valid concern, but Shoeburyness is in the top 100 most improved schools.

“It is of limited use to only look at one year’s exam results in isolation.

“The work Mark Schofield has done is good, therefore it is helpful to have him in the short-term overseeing the work at Cecil Jones.

“He is the right sort of head to do that. He has the skills and experience, otherwise we wouldn’t have appointed him.

“There is a strong leadership behind Mark that is more than capable of carrying on with his direction in his absence.

“If we thought pupils were going to suffer, we would not have suggested him.

“I have no concerns about the achievements of his pupils at all.”

He added the experience would also help Mr Schofield share best practice and widen his own skills further.

If any issues were flagged up, Mr Courtenay said additional resources would be put in place.

The Echo tried to contact Mark Schofield, but he was unavailable for comment.