Lancashire TelegraphBlackburn head teacher won't return (From Lancashire Telegraph)

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Blackburn head teacher won't return

THE HEADTEACHER at a trouble-hit school ‘will not return’, it has been revealed.

Blackburn with Darwen Council has confirmed headteacher Cherry Ridgway has permanently left Pleckgate High School in Blackburn.

The school, found to be failing by Ofsted, was described as rife with ‘a culture of mistrust’ between the head and some members of staff.

Confirmation of her employment at Pleckgate ending came from the education authority which said it was unable to comment more specifically upon an individual’s employment.

Both the school and the council said the focus was now on delivering the improvements the school requires.

Former chairman of governors Aziz Hazari said he was pleased a plan to ‘move on’ was now in place.

The governors were replaced by a council-run interim executive board when Ofsted rated the school Inadequate.

A joint statement from acting head Mark Bradshaw and chairman of the Interim Executive Board John Banks said: “Cherry Ridgway will not be returning to her post as headteacher.

“Mark Bradshaw will continue as acting head and is fully committed to continued school improvement.”

However parents said they felt uninformed.

Parent Sajjad Shah said: “We still have absolutely no idea what happened. It’s good that there seems to be a plan to move forward but we were not in the loop.”

Former chair of governors Aziz Hazari, who remains a member of the interim board, said: “It’s good to move on from both perspectives. Cherry leaving the school is a positive move both for her and the school itself I think. It is the first step to getting the school back to normality.

“If you go into school you can feel how much morale for both pupils and staff has improved.”

Former head of geography Dave Isherwood, who worked at Pleckgate for 20 years, said: “The school went from Good with Oustanding features to Inadequate which was a blow to everyone who cared about the school.

“Teachers I speak with are now really pleased there is a chance to move on and are determined to get the school out of special measures.”

A Blackburn with Darwen Council spokesman said: “Our focus as you would expect is on supporting the Interim Executive Board, and acting head teacher on their journey of continued school improvement in the best interests of the young people at the school.”

Cherry Ridgway was unavailable for comment.

Comments (10)

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11:29am Sat 29 Mar 14

Darren1951 says...

Am I being a cynical old b*gger, or is BwD council being "economical with facts" because she's getting a large pay-off? If she gets a single penny in "compensation", every member of the Education Authority should be lined up against a wall and shot. Then again, it could also be because they don't want to reveal the fact that they've sacked her, because it would be seen as an admission of failure on their part.
Am I being a cynical old b*gger, or is BwD council being "economical with facts" because she's getting a large pay-off? If she gets a single penny in "compensation", every member of the Education Authority should be lined up against a wall and shot. Then again, it could also be because they don't want to reveal the fact that they've sacked her, because it would be seen as an admission of failure on their part. Darren1951
  • Score: 47

1:07pm Sat 29 Mar 14

salvadore says...

I totally agree with you darren1951, the LEA are covering their backs. They always do, they have failed pleckgate and many other BwD secondary and primary schools. I've vented my thoughts to the lady from the LEA in a post ofsted meeting with parents a couple of weeks ago. They're a waste of time, as a parent with a yr 11 pupil in this school I've still no idea what improvements are going to be made. Apparently there's a post ofsted action plan not that that means anything. What the worst thing of all that feedback was that pleckgate were happy that they were on target to have 55% 5 a-c pass rate. They obviously believe that 45% of their yr 11s failing is fine by them.
I totally agree with you darren1951, the LEA are covering their backs. They always do, they have failed pleckgate and many other BwD secondary and primary schools. I've vented my thoughts to the lady from the LEA in a post ofsted meeting with parents a couple of weeks ago. They're a waste of time, as a parent with a yr 11 pupil in this school I've still no idea what improvements are going to be made. Apparently there's a post ofsted action plan not that that means anything. What the worst thing of all that feedback was that pleckgate were happy that they were on target to have 55% 5 a-c pass rate. They obviously believe that 45% of their yr 11s failing is fine by them. salvadore
  • Score: 10

1:31pm Sat 29 Mar 14

Pendle Bill says...

I KNOW beyond any shadow of a doubt that this LEA HAS given payouts in the past to "inconvenient" members of teaching staff. I strongly suspect that this is also the case here and if it is, I deplore it. Let BwD make an announcement about this, if they dare! This is PUBLIC MONEY; surely members of the public (ie you and I) have a RIGHT to know what is happening in such circumstances!
I KNOW beyond any shadow of a doubt that this LEA HAS given payouts in the past to "inconvenient" members of teaching staff. I strongly suspect that this is also the case here and if it is, I deplore it. Let BwD make an announcement about this, if they dare! This is PUBLIC MONEY; surely members of the public (ie you and I) have a RIGHT to know what is happening in such circumstances! Pendle Bill
  • Score: 22

3:22pm Sat 29 Mar 14

DGower says...

It is called a compromise agreement and is pretty common. For exchange of a fee, there will be no details revealed, no union involvement or any disciplinary proceedings.
It is called a compromise agreement and is pretty common. For exchange of a fee, there will be no details revealed, no union involvement or any disciplinary proceedings. DGower
  • Score: 10

4:49pm Sat 29 Mar 14

onsidecobra says...

I just hope the chucking out time parking problem on Pleckgate Road can be resolved as I an sick and tired of negotiating traffic jams on there every school day. One child one car seems to be the rule.
I just hope the chucking out time parking problem on Pleckgate Road can be resolved as I an sick and tired of negotiating traffic jams on there every school day. One child one car seems to be the rule. onsidecobra
  • Score: 6

5:39pm Sat 29 Mar 14

phil kernot says...

Blackburn head teacher will not return because t she's useless the headlines should be
Blackburn head teacher will not return because t she's useless the headlines should be phil kernot
  • Score: 11

6:21pm Sat 29 Mar 14

GiftHorse says...

This article hardly tells us anything. Why is the LEA not investigating what actually happened at Pleckgate? OK, they want to save face for themselves, but surely they should come clean and admit that they botched up big time. Of course they're not going to do that. What a shower! They could have seen all the problems many months ago and we were told what was happening last year - but instead opted to back this nutcase of a headteacher! Was this part of some kind of ostrich mentality? How did she manage to get appointed in the first place?
This article is definitely wrong on one point when it refers to the "a culture of mistrust’ (OFSTED's words) between the head and some members of staff."
This mistrust was between the head and the MAJORITY of staff. What about the headteacher's treatment of the pupils and what they thought of her?
Anyone wishing to know more about what actually happened at Pleckgate, would be advised to read the comments on previous Lancashire Telegraph articles about this sorry state of affairs at Pleckgate.
This is the same headteacher who told people being interviewed for senior management posts "If a member of my senior team doesn't do what I say, then I sack them" - which is actually what she did to many members of staff.
Good luck to the acting head, all the staff and pupils of Pleckgate. You're already getting this great school back to normal. Keep up the great work!
This article hardly tells us anything. Why is the LEA not investigating what actually happened at Pleckgate? OK, they want to save face for themselves, but surely they should come clean and admit that they botched up big time. Of course they're not going to do that. What a shower! They could have seen all the problems many months ago and we were told what was happening last year - but instead opted to back this nutcase of a headteacher! Was this part of some kind of ostrich mentality? How did she manage to get appointed in the first place? This article is definitely wrong on one point when it refers to the "a culture of mistrust’ (OFSTED's words) between the head and some members of staff." This mistrust was between the head and the MAJORITY of staff. What about the headteacher's treatment of the pupils and what they thought of her? Anyone wishing to know more about what actually happened at Pleckgate, would be advised to read the comments on previous Lancashire Telegraph articles about this sorry state of affairs at Pleckgate. This is the same headteacher who told people being interviewed for senior management posts "If a member of my senior team doesn't do what I say, then I sack them" - which is actually what she did to many members of staff. Good luck to the acting head, all the staff and pupils of Pleckgate. You're already getting this great school back to normal. Keep up the great work! GiftHorse
  • Score: 21

7:22pm Sat 29 Mar 14

voice of reason10 says...

Whilst I am pleased that Ms Ridgway will not return to Pleckgate, I do think it unwise of the LA not to apologise for the shambles that they caused and sustained by their failed, one sided and doomed 'investigation' into the staff concerns last summer.

I also think that some of the appointments Ms Ridgway made, especially one of the recent appointments from Collegiate should be very careful of aping the management style of the dear, departed Head Teacher.

The very best of luck to the many hard working staff at this great school, and all the best to the acting Head Techer.
Whilst I am pleased that Ms Ridgway will not return to Pleckgate, I do think it unwise of the LA not to apologise for the shambles that they caused and sustained by their failed, one sided and doomed 'investigation' into the staff concerns last summer. I also think that some of the appointments Ms Ridgway made, especially one of the recent appointments from Collegiate should be very careful of aping the management style of the dear, departed Head Teacher. The very best of luck to the many hard working staff at this great school, and all the best to the acting Head Techer. voice of reason10
  • Score: 18

8:04pm Sat 29 Mar 14

Firstchild says...

Whilst it is good news to find out that Ridgway will not be returning one must not forget there are still a number of her appointees still teaching at Pleckgate and it does not take many rotten apples to spoil the whole barrel.
With regard to Cherry Ridgway it is time that parents demanded full disclosure regarding what has occurred over the past year and the circumstances of Ridgway’s removal from the school. There will obviously be reluctance from the LEA as it will put them in a bad light but use of the Freedom of Information Act should be capable of forcing the issue.
Whilst it is good news to find out that Ridgway will not be returning one must not forget there are still a number of her appointees still teaching at Pleckgate and it does not take many rotten apples to spoil the whole barrel. With regard to Cherry Ridgway it is time that parents demanded full disclosure regarding what has occurred over the past year and the circumstances of Ridgway’s removal from the school. There will obviously be reluctance from the LEA as it will put them in a bad light but use of the Freedom of Information Act should be capable of forcing the issue. Firstchild
  • Score: 17

11:03am Sun 30 Mar 14

GiftHorse says...

Pendle Bill wrote:
I KNOW beyond any shadow of a doubt that this LEA HAS given payouts in the past to "inconvenient" members of teaching staff. I strongly suspect that this is also the case here and if it is, I deplore it. Let BwD make an announcement about this, if they dare! This is PUBLIC MONEY; surely members of the public (ie you and I) have a RIGHT to know what is happening in such circumstances!
That's absolutely true. I've also heard that Ms Ridgway was pushed to sign a 5-year contract, when those bright sparks first appointed her, as they didn't want her to be head-hunted and leave Pleckgate too soon (!!). This might well have resulted in an even larger pay-out... Yes, this is public money and the public deserve to be told where, why and how much of it is being spent.
Just think what could have been done with this money for the people of Blackburn!
[quote][p][bold]Pendle Bill[/bold] wrote: I KNOW beyond any shadow of a doubt that this LEA HAS given payouts in the past to "inconvenient" members of teaching staff. I strongly suspect that this is also the case here and if it is, I deplore it. Let BwD make an announcement about this, if they dare! This is PUBLIC MONEY; surely members of the public (ie you and I) have a RIGHT to know what is happening in such circumstances![/p][/quote]That's absolutely true. I've also heard that Ms Ridgway was pushed to sign a 5-year contract, when those bright sparks first appointed her, as they didn't want her to be head-hunted and leave Pleckgate too soon (!!). This might well have resulted in an even larger pay-out... Yes, this is public money and the public deserve to be told where, why and how much of it is being spent. Just think what could have been done with this money for the people of Blackburn! GiftHorse
  • Score: 11

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