Sunday 19th May 2024,
North Yorks Enquirer

“Out of the Bag”

“Out of the Bag”

The North Yorks Enquirer has received a deeply disturbing Letter to the Editor from a Whitby educator who, for fear of recriminations and/or retaliation, has requested anonymity. Only because the information contained therein has been confirmed by other sources does this Letter appear, in the public interest. Bullying at school is unacceptable. It cannot and must not be tolerated.

If the Board of Governors wishes to challenge the assertions made in this Letter, they are invited to do so, in public debate at The Coliseum in Whitby, at the Enquirer’s expense.

Should the Board decline to do so, the assertions in this Letter must stand unchallenged and be received as factually accurate.

~~~~~

Dear NYE

I was very interested to read the letter from the Eskdale School campaign group – if anything has come out of this misguided and biased suggestion to close Eskdale School then (amongst other issues), it is the ongoing and appalling mistakes made by the Whitby Secondary Partnership (WSP) Governing Body and the issues covered up by successive Chairs of Governors both at Eskdale and then the Joint Governing Body, since the arrival of a new Headteacher at Eskdale in 2018.

I refer specifically to the reason for the strike called in Dec 2021 which was quoted in their letter, namely:

“BULLYING AND ADVERSE MANAGEMENT PRACTICES AFFECTING THE WORKLOAD, HEALTH, SAFETY AND WELLBEING OF MEMBERS AT THE SCHOOL AND FAILURE TO CONSULT PROPERLY”

This, unfortunately, had been an ongoing problem since 2018 and had consistently been ignored. Official and unofficial complaints had been lodged and brushed under the carpet, different Governors (including the Chairs and Vice Chairs) chose to believe the Headteacher over the many bullied teaching staff and support staff, as well as those who had witnessed such events. Unions spent so much time dealing with issues at Eskdale School in the period 2019 to 2022 they might as well have had an office in Whitby!

One Governor who remains on the Governing Body was involved in an investigation raised by the said Headteacher into the conduct of another member of staff and refused to believe the numerous witness statements made in their defence, and even challenged the reason for their validation. As a result of the ongoing wrong decisions made by these actions, it also cost a lot of money to put right – but that is an issue for another day! The Governors had to apologise for their handling of the matter but have never taken responsibility for the bad handling of all the other cases, and no apologies have been forthcoming to the other staff.

I have since seen evidence that finally the Governors/NYCC did put the Headteacher on a support plan but ‘too late’ was the cry and it was only the impending strike that appeared to finally ensure the member of staff’s departure. 

All this could have been avoided had the Governing Body acted promptly and responsibly. As a result of their mistakes, too many staff were lost to the education sector, too many students were humiliated and too many were affected by consequent mental health issues. The Governing Body failed over a period of three years to protect employees from humiliation and intimidating and insulting behaviour. Those who were forced to leave had to sign non-disclosure agreements to stop the truth coming out. There were resignations along the way from those Governors who were not happy with ongoing issues and two Governors left as a result of the mistakes, but others still remain.

Can parents and the community trust Governors who don’t listen and don’t protect their staff and students? I believe the time has come to call this Governing Body to account before any other mistakes are made.

Yours faithfully,

A Whitby educator

[Name and address supplied]

Comments are closed.