HEART chief executive resigns: The official statements

Following yesterday's resignation of Claire Smith as chief executive of the HEART Academies Trust, both the trust and the Harpur Trust have issued fresh statements.

Wednesday, 21st November 2018, 5:52 pm
Updated Wednesday, 21st November 2018, 6:07 pm
MBTC-18-10-13- Bedford Academy. b13-922 Head teacher Claire Smith. ENGPNL00120131018134455

The trust said: “Following the news of Claire Smith’s decision to leave HEART Academies Trust, we have received a number of questions from our parents and staff about the immediate future.

“We are pleased to see the level of interest among parents in this process is high, which we believe reflects the positive steps being made in the mediation process. However, there are restrictions on what we can say due to issues of employee confidentiality and the fact that we are in the very earliest stages of recruiting a new chief executive.

“What’s increasingly clear is that parents, staff and the Trust are all trying to achieve the same aims: to ensure that pupils’ education is not disrupted and that the Trust is well resourced in order to maintain progress and stability.

“With regard to the outlining the next steps for the Trust in terms of the organisation and running of its schools, this will be the responsibility our new chief executive and trustees, the chair of whom we are also recruiting. It would be inappropriate for the Trust to attempt to second guess their decisions at this stage.

“We can assure parents that when pupils return to their schools in January 2019, classes will be staffed and teaching will continue to achieve the best possible results. We will also ensure that parents and staff are kept informed of progress and the chief executive recruitment process.”

The Harpur Trust has been accused by parents of “simply allowing (the process) to continue without any evidence of direct intervention.”

A spokesman today said: “The Harpur Trust fully supports the intentions of the trustees of the HEART Academies Trust to strengthen and balance the board, through the recruitment of new Trustees and a new and independent chair.

“As sponsor, The Harpur Trust also shares the ambition to rebuild relationships so that the HEART schools can provide the very best possible education and life chances for pupils in the community.”