According to the ‘Guardian’;
“A second headteacher from an academy chain set up by the coalition’s schools minister is to leave her post this term, prompting concerns about their governance.
Susan Rankin-Reid, the acting head of Churchill Gardens academy, in Pimlico, central London, has agreed to leave Future Academies, which was set up by Lord Nash with his wife and oversees four schools.
Colleagues and friends said she was bullied by academy managers, following a takeover by Future at the beginning of the school year. Parents at the school gates on Friday accused Lord Nash’s charity of forcing her out.
Last week the Guardian disclosed that Annaliese Briggs, a 27-year-old headteacher with no teaching qualifications who was controversially appointed to Pimlico Free School, had resigned after three weeks in the job.
Future Academies, which has four schools in its group, is seen as a blueprint for future institutions to be rolled out by the education secretary, Michael Gove.
Future has its own curriculum development centre, which focuses on a knowledge, rather than skills-based, curriculum. Its work is influenced by ED Hirsch, the American academic whose ideas have influenced the national curriculum review.
Labour called on Nash, a former venture capitalist and Tory donor who made a fortune from government contracts, to explain why the academy was unable to retain senior teaching staff.
Kevin Brennan, the shadow schools minister, said: “Another week, another resignation at the Future Academies chain set up by a government schools minister. Parents will want to know exactly what has gone on here so that they can be sure that their children’s education is in good hands.
“How can it be right that he is responsible for clearing up the mess made by an organisation he founded and ran? This week we have seen how important proper oversight is with the fiasco at the Al-Madinah Free School and it is barely credible that he could remain impartial in this situation. It is time for oversight of this chain to be taken off him.”
Churchill Gardens, for three- to 11-year-olds, became part of the Academy group six weeks ago after a fractious campaign over academy status at the school which followed a “requires improvement” Ofsted inspection.
The staff body mounted a vigorous campaign in favour of a “play-based” learning approach.
Rankin-Reid, who is also a qualified Ofsted inspector,,has been subjected to a campaign of bullying from staff at the academy, a colleague said. “She was forced out in the end, despite the fact she is wanted by staff and parents,” the source said.
Parents on Friday blamed the academy for forcing her out. Patience Freeman, who was picking up her children Lois, 9, Jesse, 6, and Simean, 5, said she is looking for an alternative school because of the constant changes brought in by Future.
“I blame them [Future]. The headteacher is very good and we want her to stay. Ask around and 95% of the parents and staff will agree with me,” she said.
Last week the group came under intense scrutiny as Briggs quit just weeks after the school opened its doors for the first time.
Future Academies, founded by Nash and his wife Caroline, is free to appoint unqualified teachers, but defended the selection of Briggs, saying she was “uniquely qualified”.
Future Academy did not respond to questions asking for an explanation of Nash’s role in Briggs appointment, but it understood that he was fully behind the decision. The Academy also refused to answer questions asking about Lady Nash’s role in Briggs appointment; why parents at Pimlico Primary claim they were “misled”; and how many applicants were interviewed for Briggs job. The academy chain also did not respond to questions asking who is on the governing body of the school – the panel responsible for appointments – which is not posted on the academy’s website.
Nash, a venture capitalist, and his wife became Tory donors in 2006 and helped to finance David Davis’s 2005 leadership bid. One of his previous investment vehicles, Sovereign Capital, owned companies with more than £70m worth of government contracts. In January he became a life peer and schools minister.
Future Academies did not respond to requests for a response to the bullying claims.
A DfE spokeswoman said that Nash did not take any decisions which affected schools in which his charity was involved. “The decision to do this was made when Lord Nash became minister to avoid any conflicts of interest,” she said.
Michael Parker, secretary of the National Union of Teachers in Westminster, said that teachers across the academy are concerned by the new curriculum.
“It’s a real worry, in the opinion of the staff that are there, that it is not a curriculum that will allow the children to flourish,” he said.