My dismissal ‘may have delayed Stevenage school project’ says ex-head

DELAYS to the building of a new school could have been avoided, according to former Stevenage headteacher Patrick Marshall.

The Marriotts Lonsdale School was due to open in September but the date was put back to January 2013 earlier this year.

Dr Marshall told the Comet that his removal from Marriotts School may have had an impact on the decision, which also affects Lonsdale, a special school for pupils with physical and neurological impairments.

“We were insistent that school started in September and if they couldn’t deliver for 2012 it would be September 2013,” he said.

“I can’t know for certain as I’m not involved now but I don’t think it would have been delayed if I was there. There was no way that Balfour Beatty would not get paid for a year but I’m sure they would accept a term.

“I don’t think the delay is good for anybody, the children, Stevenage or the builders.”

Builders Balfour Beatty blamed the “extremely wet weather and complexity of the construction programme” for the delay in the �8.7m project, the county council said in July.

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Dr Marshall has also questioned the timing of his removal.

He said: “Of course there was a time for me to go but this was the one thing I was expert in. I saw the building project from the very first lines on a piece of white paper through to a special structure.

“I was very happy to work and I should’ve been working on that project through to completion. I have had no contact at all since which is bizarre considering the amount of knowledge and experience I have about it.”

Dr Marshall has since taken up a job at the NHS Postgraduate Deanery for Kent, Surrey and Sussex where his role includes assessing the quality of consultants’ teaching and researching medical leadership and education.

He added: “I loved my job and it was incredibly important to me. I’m very proud of all the things I’ve done but I wouldn’t go back to being a headteacher in Hertfordshire.

“I’m really happy now but I just want the pupils and parents to know I had a great 10 years at Marriotts. I want them to know there was nothing I could have done differently at the end to change things.”

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