Troubled Hitchin school parted company with head after relationship ‘declined’

Former Kingshott School headmaster Iain Gilmour.

Former Kingshott School headmaster Iain Gilmour. - Credit: Archant

A Hitchin school has explained to parents that its outgoing headmaster’s contract was terminated suddenly after governors concluded his approach was ‘not in the best interests of the school’.

The independent Kingshott preparatory and nursery school on the edge of town informed parents on Friday that former head Iain Gilmour’s contract was terminated by mutual agreement after a period during which the relationship between him and the governors had ‘declined’.

The letter, seen by the Comet, said that Mr Gilmour – who had spent eight years in charge at the fee-paying school until he suddenly left at the start of this month – needed to develop a greater appreciation of the importance of compliance with formal safeguarding requirements.

It stated: “The governors concluded unanimously that Iain’s approach was not the best fit for Kingshott and a change of head was in the best interests of the school.

“While we are very grateful to Iain for the many aspects of progress it is also the governors’ responsibility to adhere to the regulations laid down by the Secretary of State for Education which require the school to abide by the policies and procedures in place to ensure a safe learning environment.”


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One former parent told the Comet: “This letter begs more questions than answers.

“It refers to child safeguarding, but doesn’t actually tell parents what the issues with Mr Gilmour were.

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“It raises concerns about whether children were unsafe under his stewardship. How can we be sure children at the school are safe now?”

Approached by the Comet this week for further information, a spokesman for the school said: “We have nothing more to add, further to previous communications.”

Mr Gilmour did not respond to the Comet’s calls ahead of our deadline.

The school was also the subject to an unannounced visit from the Independent Schools Inspectorate last week.

However the body was unwilling to explain to the Comet just why they paid the surprise call.

The school in Stevenage Road hit the headlines last December when it was conned out of £240,000 after fraudsters pretended to represent a Hitchin building company who had been working at the site.

The tricksters mocked up a fake letterhead and got in touch with the school to ‘inform them of a change in banking details’ – which led to the school processing the six figure payment.

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