HEART chief executive resigns: Parents' warning over 2019 at the trust

Claire Smith has resigned as chief executive of the troubled HEART Academies Trust - but parents have warned that the botched shake-up of three Bedford primary schools could leave them without enough staff in the new year.

Wednesday, 21st November 2018, 5:51 pm
Updated Wednesday, 21st November 2018, 6:07 pm
MBTC-18-10-13- Bedford Academy. b13-922 Head teacher Claire Smith. ENGPNL00120131018134455

The HEART Academies Trust had been hoping to make major changes at Cauldwell, Shackleton and Shortstown primary schools, including a raft of redundancies.

That overhaul has been put on hold, with the chief executive and chairman of the trust both resigning.

But parents say that seven members of the teaching staff – and five members of the teaching, finance, and facilities teams – are leaving Shortstown and Cauldwell.

A spokesman for the SSC Action Team, which represents parents from all three schools, said: “We are alarmed by the recent discovery from the trade unions that a total of 12 employees have recently resigned from the primary schools citing reasons relating to the management of the trust and the appalling way the redundancy process has been managed.

“We strongly feel that the main sponsor the Harpur Trust is simply allowing this to continue without any evidence of direct intervention.”

The proposed changes across HEART Academies Trust provided outrage from parents at all three affected primary schools.

In addition to meaning the loss of three headteacher roles, thee deputy heads, and seven assistant heads, it would mean the schools no longer had separate parent governors.

One insider said that the move was designed to give the trust maximum control with minimal scrutiny.

Parents responded by threatening to take both Shortstown and Cauldwell schools out of the trust.