WEB EXCLUSIVE: JOHN BENNETT QUITS AS HEAD OF THOMAS CLARKSON, WISBECH

PUBLISHED: 12:02 30 June 2008 | UPDATED: 08:32 02 June 2010

marshland high school

marshland high school

By the Editor, JOHN ELWORTHY HEAD John Bennett has quit the Thomas Clarkson Community College, Wisbech, just a year into his headship. The sensational news leaked from the school today but I understand Mr Bennett tendered his resignation on Friday night

By the Editor, JOHN ELWORTHY

HEAD John Bennett has quit the Thomas Clarkson Community College, Wisbech, just a year into his headship.

The sensational news leaked from the school today but I understand Mr Bennett tendered his resignation on Friday night. He has already left the school and one of his deputies, Maureen Strudwick, is temporarily in charge.

The news has left the school governors and staff in a state of shock and follows a tumultuous year for the school during which he oversaw a new school name and attempted a radical re-structuring.

He was also trying to tackle an acute financial crisis but this year the school was still expected to lose nearly £600,000 with the prospect of even greater losses next year.

Earlier this month Mr Bennett prepared a confidential report about the school's finances- which was later leaked to the media- warning of the threat to jobs of some senior and other staff at the school; He promised at the time that teaching time would not be affected but many of his colleagues began to fear for their jobs.

"I believe there is over staffing at the school but it is not as if Mr Bennett is cutting away lots of teachers, nothing of the kind," he said.

"In future it will run effectively in a new streamlined way but the core function of teaching and learning has to be protected."

Mr Bennett revealed that changes may affect senior management, middle managers and non teaching staff but "ordinary teachers are not specially affected."

""My job is to set this school back on its feet," he said. "No organisation with a turnover of £6 million per annum can afford to make a loss. It has to at least break even, and I have had to address this very difficult matter.

"Having said that once we get through this stage, I believe it will be another important milestone on the road to getting this school back on its feet."

Mr Bennett said he was confident about the school's future and this September, and for the first time, it would have a full complement of teachers. Five teachers have been recruited from Canada -which shares the same curriculum as Britain- and an influx of trainers teachers linked to Sawtry Training College had boosted teaching resources.

It will mean the school will have its fourth head in as many years following the early retirement of former head Steve McKenna , the appointment of Tony Copper to be interim executive head and now the departure of Mr Bennett.


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