Followers of the Cuckoo Hall saga will be aware of its bare outline.
Before Christmas The Chair of a Multi Academy Chain, Cuckoo Hall Academy Trust Andry Efthymiou, received serious allegations against the Executive head of the TRUST, Patricia Sowter CBE, Ms Sowter's Husband, a Trustee of CHAT, and against the Head of Cuckoo Hall, Sharon Ahmet.
The Chair, by their own account sought advice, then suspended the three, a "neutral act" while the EFA carried out an investigation. However weeks before the EFA conclusions were published the Trustees publically repudiated the action of the Chair, announced she had been unanimously removed, and reinstated the three as "completely vindicated." A new chair was appointed reported in the press to have a financial interest in a business that has the Trust as a customer. While that in itself need not be improper that he may have financially benefited from purchasing decisions made by Mrs Sowter, could tend to create the perception that he is not a fully independent figure.
Then the EFA report was published. See here
In the last week of February I picked up a paper copy of the " Haringey Advertiser" to see if there was any more coverage. In the event there was no more journalism, and there has not been in the weeks since, so I presume no more public developments have happened. (Other than the Advertising Standards Agency ordering them to amend their web site as described here
Bit of a contrast some have suggested with the conduct of the Secretary of State regarding Durham Free School see here
So we have no action (yet) regarding Cuckoo Hall, verging on over enthusiastic action regarding Durham Free School ...there was a risk of a successful application for Judicial Review of the Secretary of State's conduct of the matter as a result.
Which underlines the point that having the Secretary of State responsible for decisions of this sort is not a good idea.
I said there was no more journalism but there was a letter headed:
"How can we have any confidence in this school"
It was written by an Andrew Nicholas of Silver Street, Enfield. As letters are not made available on the internet by this paper here is the text rather than a link, as printed in the paper on 25 February 2015
"I was astounded to read "Cuckoo Hall faces closure threat after investigation." (Advertiser, February 8), to the extent that I went online to read the EFA report myself.
Being involved with other schools in Enfield, I am well aware the the academy system can work extremely well, but to a very large extent any school relies on the competence of its Governing Body.
The report makes it quite clear that a significant number of breaches of regulations and guidelines took place.
In my view it is extraordinary that the husband of the executive head was a trustee.
Let's not dwell on the failure to comply with safeguarding requirements and the falsifying of records, although if I was a parent of a child at the school I doubt I would be quite so sanguine.
How the headteacher and the remaining trustees feel that it is acceptable for them to remain in post is baffling.
The remaining trustees (and I include the head) appear to be demonstrating a breathtaking level of complacency and from the comments made by them in the advertiser, would seem to be in complete denial.
How can the staff and senior management have any confidence in the future of the School?"
Well written I thought. If I were to respond to the writer I would point out that the test of any system comes not when things are going well but when problems occur, and that the reason why he may have experience of the Academy system working well will rest on the competence shown by their trustees..
At Cuckoo Hall Academy Trust we now have a series of documented failures on the part of the Trustees. Yet because they are prepared to brazen it out they go on in a way that would never have been tolerated in a Community School. And Mrs Sowter, and, it seems, at least one member of her family appointed improperly to a senior paid position in the Trust continues in post, as does Sharon Ahmet.