EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Stevenage headteacher hits out at council’s ‘muscular approach’

A HEADTEACHER who was forced to resign after 10 years in the job has criticised Hertfordshire County Council for the way the situation was handled.

Patrick Marshall was asked by County Hall to step down from his role at Marriotts School in Stevenage following an unsatisfactory Ofsted report in February.

Dr Marshall, who has since completed a doctorate in education, said: “I fully accept accountability and I’m not one to shy away when things are going wrong.

“But what I have found most disappointing is the local authority’s muscular approach. Even if I had to go it could have been managed better.

“I wasn’t going to stop the school from functioning and there was nobody else ready to take over. They didn’t plan ahead.

“After my departure it took months to find someone who turned out to be a deputy from a school very different from Marriotts who replaced Ian Dougall – who had been a senior deputy at the school for more than 20 years – as acting head after Easter.”

Dr Marshall was told the news one working day after the Ofsted report came to light by Keith Gould, the county council’s secondary school effectiveness adviser at the time and the ex-improvement partner for the school. The school was given a notice to improve when the report was published a month later.

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“The people in charge – my bosses – never spoke to me about the decision,” said Dr Marshall, who saw five A* to C grades at GCSE rise from 21 per cent in 2002 to 85 per cent this year.

“Keith Gould came in and he was really clear, he said ‘you’ve got to go and you’ve got to go now’.

“I’ve got great institutional knowledge, whether it be good or bad, which I’m happy to share. The local authority panicked and I think as a consequence the education of children at the school was put at risk which I think is unforgivable.”

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