Queen's head quits

PUBLISHED: 16:57 21 July 2006 | UPDATED: 10:45 01 June 2010

Steve McKenna told staff he had quit the troubled Wisbech School on Wednesday

Steve McKenna told staff he had quit the troubled Wisbech School on Wednesday

QUEEN S School head Steve McKenna dramatically announced his resignation late on Wednesday afternoon in front of a packed assembly of colleagues and staff. The meeting had been called to discuss the implications for the 1,400-pupil school in the light of

QUEEN'S School head Steve McKenna dramatically announced his resignation late on Wednesday afternoon in front of a packed assembly of colleagues and staff.

The meeting had been called to discuss the implications for the 1,400-pupil school in the light of a devastating OfSTED report and the sacking of the governing body.

Mr McKenna opened the meeting by telling his 80-strong teaching staff, as well as teaching assistants and domestic staff, that he would not be returning as head in September.

Listening to what effectively was his resignation speech were Gordon Jeyes, deputy chief executive for children and young people's services in Cambridgeshire, and Councillor Jill Tuck, newly-appointed chairman of the interim management board.

Mr McKenna's announcement came just one day before pupils were sent home to begin their summer holidays.

When they return, they will find a new regime in place, led by an experienced head who has been seconded temporarily to the Queen's.

In an exclusive interview earlier this week, Mr Jeyes pledged: "We are going to turn the school around. I'm determined to change the success of the school. It will be difficult and challenging and it will take a while. But I'm not going to fail."

County council spokesman Simon Cobby said after Wednesday's meeting: "Both Gordon Jeyes and Jill Tuck felt it was a successful and very productive meeting.

"Along with the staff they are looking forward to a new future for the school from September."

Last month I asked Mr McKenna if he had considered resigning in the light of the expected damaging assessment by OfSTED.

"Absolutely, definitely not," he said. "If I look at what I have achieved that speaks for itself."

Although he might have stood his ground and fought on, perhaps it was his illuminating thoughts on parents of Queen's pupils that sealed his fate.

"Many families have low aspirations for their children or lack the wherewithal to give the kind of support children need to succeed in a demanding academic environment," he wrote in his annual report. "Often parents have few, if any, qualifications and their experiences of education are both limited and unsatisfactory."

Last week hundreds of them packed Queen's for a parents' meeting and demanded, in the light of that statement and the OfSTED findings, that he had to leave.

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