I was disappointed to see (Gazette, January 16) that Graham Toole-Mackson was perpetuating the myth implied by Woodard Academies Trust that the Littlehampton Community School was a failing school, when he stated: “The academy has made enormous and lasting progress under his (Steve Jewell’s) leadership and the lives of families and children significantly improved.”
Where is the evidence?
The Littlehampton Community School (LCS) was never a failing school, until now under the leadership of Woodard Academy Trust (WAT)!
It was a school that put children and families first.
WAT would like to claim this high ground, but that is difficult when it has allowed/encouraged so many experienced staff to leave – staff who knew the town and its families, including Glen Hampson, Gill Geddies and Norman Burles, to name but a few.
LCS never failed an Ofsted and in fact, aspects of the school were often rated good or outstanding.
The school had a history of successful young people leaving, many to university (regular Oxbridge places included) and many into successful trade and commerce careers.
I believe Mr Jewell, the academy principal, acting for the trust, seems to have put financial saving above experience when appointing staff.
Mr Toole-Mackson rates Mr Jewell very highly, but his time at the academy shows a principal out of touch, made a laughing stock on Facebook (described as the most expensive litter picker in the country) and the head who caused his staff to go on strike last year.
Yes, LCS staff also went on strike, but to support national pay and conditions issues, not because of poor management by a head!
Please support the school in what looks like its darkest hour, but don’t blame LCS, its past heads (Mr Tate must be rolling in his grave) and staff (how many of you love history or stayed on the straight and narrow because of Roger Butterworth).
Instead, blame Woodard Academies Trust for betraying the needs of the children and families of Littlehampton.
David Marsh, ex-LCS teacher and parent