School leaders’ union confirms Birmingham head has taken back her post

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School leaders’ union confirms Birmingham head has taken back her post at Oldknow

NAHT is pleased to confirm that Ms Bhupinder Kondal, who resigned as principal at Oldknow Academy in January 2014, because she felt under undue pressure from Governors, has returned to her post.

Education and local community leaders from across Birmingham have come together to join the Oldknow Academy Trust, following the resignations of the previous members of the trust. The  trust will officially welcome Ms Kondal back to school early this afternoon.( 1pm Tuesday 19 August )

A DfE spokesperson said  “ We can confirm that the previous Trustees of Oldknow Academy Trust have resigned and a new group of members are in charge, led by Dr Barry Henley, who is a widely respected Birmingham Councillor. The members include Christine Quinn and Pat Walters, two eminent Principals of local schools, and they will now meet with DfE/EFA officials to set out their plans to transform the standards of governance and education in Oldknow Academy. Subject to satisfaction with those plans, Lord Nash, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Schools, has indicated he will reverse his decision to terminate the funding agreement.”

The announcement, followed the visit of a team from the Education Funding Agency on 10 and 11 April 2014 and a subsequent report in June. The visit identified many weaknesses across the Trust, in particular that the governance arrangements for the trust lacked coherence and there was a breakdown in governance and leadership at the academy.

A further report by Ofsted and the government commissioned Peter Clarke report on 22 July confirmed the problems and similar ones at other schools under investigation as a result of the allegation of a plot in the anonymous Trojan Horse letter. The former governors of Oldknow resigned after the Secretary of State for Education, Nicky Morgan announced they would lose their funding and their trust would be dissolved.

Principal at Oldknow, Ms Kondal said: “To be back doing the job I love is marvellous, but it has been a long and hard battle fought with and by my union, NAHT. The pressures outlined in the Trojan Horse letter are very real and it mustn’t be allowed to happen again. I am happy now to be able to focus on the children and work with the new governors to welcome everyone for the new term and put this behind us.”

Dr Barry Henley the new chair of trustees at Oldknow Academy said: “Oldknow has previously been an outstanding school under Bhupinder Kondal and my colleagues and I will ensure that it will be again.”

Rob Kelsall, Senior Regional Officer at NAHT has confirmed that he is reviewing 28 cases which may be linked to Trojan Horse, added “We are pleased to see Bhupinder return to the job she loves. Her bravery in speaking out has helped others come forward and I will continue to work to reinstate those head teachers where appropriate.”

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