Divisive Highbury Grove head Tom Sherrington leaves school with immediate effect in shock announcement
PUBLISHED: 19:03 20 January 2017 | UPDATED: 19:11 20 January 2017
Divisive Highbury Grove head Tom Sherrington, who came under fire last year over job cuts, finances and discipline, has left the school with immediate effect.
The shock announcement that he would be “pursuing other career options” was made in a letter to parents this afternoon.
Mr Sherrington, who joined the popular secondary school as headteacher in September 2014, had split opinion. Union members called unanimously for a halt to his programme of redundancies in March, but parents and governors leapt to his defence after the Gazette reported on their concerns.
In March, we revealed the precarious nature of the school’s finances, which had plunged from £600,000 in the black in 2014 to needing £700,000 in-year savings, expected to be achieved in part by cutting some visiting music teachers, teaching assistants and behavioural support staff.
It was also reported that in the first week after Mr Sherrington’s arrival at the school 300 pupils a day were being given detentions.
"Mr Sherrington has left to pursue other career paths and has asked that his privacy be respected. Mr Sherrington would, however, like to thank everyone at the school and to wish everyone at the school every success in the years ahead. I’m sure you will join me in wishing Mr Sherrington the very best for the future."
The letter to parents, which was written by chair of governors Maggie Elliott, states: “Mr Sherrington has left to pursue other career paths and has asked that his privacy be respected.
“Mr Sherrington would, however, like to thank everyone at the school and to wish everyone at the school every success in the years ahead.
“I’m sure you will join me in wishing Mr Sherrington the very best for the future.”
Head of school for sixth form Aimee Lyall will replace Mr Sherrington as acting headteacher, with the support of fellow heads of school Matthew Little and Leila MacTavish.
The letter added: “She is respected by colleagues, well-liked by students and the right leader for Highbury Grove at this moment in time.
“The governors of Highbury Grove School and the local authority have the highest regard for Ms Lyall and the staff team, and know that you will join us in supporting their efforts to move the school forward.”
At the time, Mr Sherrington told the Gazette Highbury Grove was “facing cost pressures due to increase in pension and national insurance costs, along with general increases of teacher and support staff pay, which are not funded by the schools budget”.
He added: “We have protected teaching and learning, pastoral care and teachers’ conditions as the top priorities and there will be no teacher redundancies.”
The school was rated “outstanding” when it was last inspected by Ofsted in 2010, but the number of students achieving Grade C or above in English and maths GCSE results – 45 per cent – in August was almost 20pc below the local authority average.
Mr Sherrington styled himself as “the Guru Headteacher” in his tweets and blog posts, and has written for national newspapers.
He could not be immediately reached for comment.
Do you have children at Highbury Grove? What do you think of the announcement? E-mail education editor James Scott: firstname.lastname@example.org