THE former chairman of governors at Littlehampton Academy said he was ‘saddened’ at the treatment of the school’s now former advisory body.
His statement to the Gazette has been printed in full below.
“I have known Steve Jewell for 20 years or so.
I appointed him to his last job at St Andrew’s Boy School in Worthing, where he was a tremendous success, transforming the school from one that was heavily undersubscribed to one that was oversubscribed.
“I was not involved in his appointment to the new Littlehampton Academy, but worked with him for four years there as the first chairman of governors.
“The academy has made enormous and lasting progress under his leadership and the lives of families and children have improved significantly in an atmosphere where learning is a pleasure, in an environment of Christian caring.
“So many people in the area have commented on the amazing changes for the better in the academy over the last four years.
“For legal reasons I cannot comment on his departure as principal, or who made the decision, but I have to accept that I attended as trustee an emotional and highly charged meeting of the Woodard Academies Trust (WAT) when decisions were made.
“It is my view, however, that the wrong decisions were made and Steve Jewell should not have left the academy.
“However, it has to be said that the pressure from the Department for Education for schools to improve fast is relentless and it is almost impossible for the trust to stand up to this, but I believe an attempt should have been made because of the enormous improvements at the academy.
“Education is not just about exam results and data but in the current climate that is all that matters.
“As a result, I have stepped down as a trustee of WAT.
“Since my departure, I have been approached by councillors (formerly governors of the academy), all of whom have been summarily dismissed.
“I must leave it to others to comment but it saddens me greatly that such experienced, talented professional people, many with substantial educational experience and representative of the community, who have given so much voluntary time, should be treated in this way. It concerns me that WAT, a Christian organisation, can act in such an uncaring fashion.
“It saddens me that I have had to step down, but I would like to think that in some way I might be able to play a role in the future of the academy, with which I have enjoyed a close and personal relationship from the start. I wish it every success.”