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Super-head removed from post after ‘school turbulence’ note to parents

Brookside Junior School in Harold Hill Brookside Junior School in Harold Hill

Monday, June 2, 2014
7:00 AM

A high-achieving super-head drafted in to save a failing school was removed from post and told he had 10 minutes to clear his desk after sending a note to parents warning them that “turbulence” at the school seemed set to continue, it has emerged.

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Adrian McNeillis, who became the third head in 10 months when he took up the post at the Brookside Junior School in January, used the ParentMail network to warn that the school could be left without seven members of staff, including a head, if it was slow to recruit.

He wrote he believed the decision had been taken on cost-saving grounds as part of the conversion of the school, rated “inadequate” by Ofsted last year, into an academy.

A source close to the school suggested Mr McNeillis, who has helped turn around 15 schools in a 27-year career as consultant head, had been removed after Havering Council “got wind” of the note.

School governor and chairman of the parent forum Claire Burroughs said: “It seems to me that there’s general disregard over the school.

“It’s almost as if the school’s being argued over by the academy and the local authority, but there’s no concern about the kids – it’s all about the politics.”

Mother-of-two Jennifer Smith, 43, who has children at the school, said:“My concern now is why did they feel the need to [remove] him?

“Whose interests is it in? Because it’s certainly not the children’s!”

Brookside Junior is in the process of becoming an academy, sponsored by a partnership between Drapers’ Livery Company and Queen Mary University of London.

A spokesman said a joint statement on the move to “enhance educational performance at the school” would be issued by them and Havering Council to parents soon.

A council spokesman said the decision to dismiss Mr McNeillis had been taken entirely by the recruitment consultancy that employed him, following conversations with the local authority.

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