Mass staff exodus – ‘but no crisis’ – at school

Troubled Mexborough School has been hit by an exodus – with a staggering SEVENTEEN staff leaving their jobs.

The Times can reveal that 14 teachers, an assistant head and two support staff are going in July... almost 20 per cent of a teaching staff of around 80, and over 10 per cent of the school’s 150 employees.

Some are believed to be taking early retirement but others are said to have “had enough”.

But headteacher Mirjam Bühler-Willey has denied the Special Measures school is in crisis – saying the number of leavers is “completely normal and what we would expect for a school of this size”.

She said teachers were “leaving the school for a variety of reasons, including moving on to promoted posts and retirement”, with no compulsory redundancies.

The Times understands she has now sent all governors a note, advising them NOT to speak to us!

The news comes on the heels of a “monitoring” report from Ofsted – published this week – which surprisingly elevated the Special Measures school to “satisfactory” status from “inadequate”.

According to the latest report, “a number of teachers” have already left, since the school went into Doncaster Council control after a damning Ofsted in January.

The new report says teaching has “improved” and “over half the teaching observed by inspectors was good or better”.

It praised the head, saying: “She is re-building the confidence of leaders and teachers very effectively. Staff are beginning to see the positive impact of changes introduced following the inspection and there is growing optimism”.

The inspectors added that pupils’ behaviour had improved, and that they “feel safe in corridors and communal areas.”

But questions still linger over the validity of the last Ofsted inspection, which was described by some as a “stitch-up” and led angry chair of governors, Coun Sue Phillips, to quit.

This week a senior school insider told the Times: “People have their suspicions that the last Ofsted was a stitch-up. The ‘inadequate’ review came out of the blue. It put the school into Doncaster Council control, and some staff left.

“It was a charade. Then less than six-months later, ‘surprise surprise’, everything is satisfactory.

“It’s no wonder some have had enough. Fourteen teachers out of 80 is a lot and it includes some senior people.”

John Coward, the NUT Doncaster branch official, who represents around half the school’s teachers, said there had been “a few issues” for staff.

He said: “Some have decided their teaching days are finished.”

Meanwhile Mrs Bühler-Willey’s plans to turn the school into a Co-operative Trust – controlled in part by Governors from businesses, including the international Co-op chain – are still being considered.