THE fallout from the shock resignation of the entire governing body of Scarcroft Primary School continues – with a former governor criticising the York school’s planned new governance arrangements, and the process by which the school’s retiring head is to be replaced.

Tracey Barrett was a member of the Scarcroft board of governors which resigned en masse in September after an ‘irreparable breakdown in trust and communication’ with South Bank Multi Academy Trust (SBMAT), to which the school belongs.

The outgoing governors said they had concerns about a number of academy trust policies - including controversial changes to pay and conditions for teaching assistants.

But they claimed attempts to raise these concerns with the academy chain’s trustees were deemed ‘hostile’.

They stressed that they had no problems with the leadership at Scarcroft school itself, which they described as ‘exemplary’.

But now that Scarcroft’s head Paul Edwards has announced that he will be retiring, former governor Ms Barrett has hit out at the process by which his successor has been chosen.

In a letter to Scarcroft parents, the academy trust’s chief executive Mark Hassack said that Woodthorpe Primary head James McGann had been appointed as the executive head for both Woodthorpe and Scarcroft schools.

The academy trust’s director of personal development Jennifer Mitchell, meanwhile, has been appointed the new Head of school at Scarcroft.

But Ms Barrett has criticised the process by which the appointments were made.

“Why is the MAT not advertising for a headteacher to replace Paul Edwards?” she asked. “The letter (from Mr Hassack) talks about a robust selection process - this is hardly the case.”

Ms Barrett questioned how Mr McGann could suddenly have the ‘capacity to lead two schools rather than one’.


And she also criticised the plans to set up a new joint board of governors to cover both Woodthorpe and Scarcroft schools.

“How will a joint governing body work?” she asked. “As an ex-governor I know how long meetings can take if you are effectively challenging and supporting one school - let alone two .”

She said she feared the new joint governing body would be made up mainly of governors from Woodthorpe – who would ‘know little about the school or the community it serves’.

But the academy trust has hit back.

A spokesperson insisted that the appointment of both Scarcroft’s new executive head and head of school had been made following a ‘robust and proper selection process’.

“We have appointed exceptional candidates,” the spokesperson said.

On the arrangements for replacing Scarcroft’s board of governors, the spokesperson added: “We recognise the strength of governance provided by Woodthorpe’s Local Governing Board (LGB) and we are delighted that they have agreed to form the joint LGB.

“The joint LGB will comprise one staff member from each school, one parent from each school, six general governors and the head of school from each school.

“We have never stipulated that governors in any of our schools should live within a particular community.

“This is a model that we know works well and is proven in a number of other multi academy trusts.”