TWO Blackbird Leys headteachers have left their posts as one of Oxford’s top independent schools prepares to sponsor their primaries.
In October it was announced that the Dragon School in Bardwell Road would be the lead sponsor in a new multi-academy trust with three Blackbird Leys primaries – Orchard Meadow, Pegasus and Windale.
Headteachers at two of the schools – Orchard Meadow’s Chris Price and Windale’s Maureen Thompson – left their posts yesterday.
Oxfordshire County Council said they left “voluntarily”.
Jill Hudson, headteacher of Pegasus, has been appointed as executive headteacher of all three primaries.
Mrs Thompson said she could not comment on the circumstances surrounding her departure, but said she would be staying in education.
She said: “I have spent seven wonderful years at this school and will be very sorry to leave.
“I believe we, the staff and parents have helped the school move forward. The children have been wonderful and they deserve a great big thank you for everything they have done.”
Windale Community Primary School is rated by Ofsted as being “good”, and a recent inspection had praised Mrs Thompson’s “drive and determination” saying it showed the school’s commitment to improving.
Despite repeated requests, no-one from Orchard School, which is in special measures, provided comment.
Orchard Meadow and Windale were previously told to become academies after failing to meet Government standards at Key Stage 2.
Dragon spokesman Jenny Schneider said: “The sponsors of the new academy still await academy orders for Windale and Orchard Meadow. It is likely to be a minimum of four months from receipt of the academy or-ders before the academy opens.
“Until that point, the local authority retains full responsibility for the schools, including all human resources issues.
“The sponsors have played no part in the resignations of any member of staff.”
As part of the deal, there will be no financial investment, but use of the North Oxford school’s science, art, music and sporting facilities will be available and teachers at the Dragon will assist to develop initiatives.
County council spokesman Sam Henry said: “I can confirm the two headteachers left voluntarily. We would like to thank these members of staff for the work they have carried out in their respective schools.”
Oxford East MP Andrew Smith said: “It is always a difficult situation when you have three schools which have been autonomous being combined, because obviously there is going to be one headteacher, so it does put the other ones in a slightly difficult position.”