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Parents call for stability as Bexleyheath Academy announces fifth principal in six years

PUBLISHED: 11:48 17 July 2017 | UPDATED: 16:09 17 July 2017

Bexleyheath Academy

Bexleyheath Academy

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New principal will take over in September

John Szynal will start his role as principal at Bexleyheath Academy in September 2017John Szynal will start his role as principal at Bexleyheath Academy in September 2017

Parents have warned Bexleyheath Academy of “failing” recruitment as the school loses its fourth principal in six years.

In an open letter to the school, parent Chris Ian warned of a “coalition of chaos” of “new staff, new rules and new practices”.

Academies Enterprise Trust took over Bexleyheath School in September 2011, turning it into Bexleyheath Academy.

Since then the 1,600-pupil school had seen three heads come and go, before Mark Pinchin arrived at the school in September 2016 after the mixed-secondary was handed a ‘requires improvement’ rating from Ofsted earlier that year.

But before this academic year could come to a close, Mr Pinchin became the latest head to roll at the academy.

A spokesperson from AET said: “Mr Pinchin will be leaving at the end of the term, and AET has accordingly put in place interim arrangements to provide continued and strong leadership and support for Bexleyheath Academy through to the appointment of a new Head teacher.

“John Szynal, executive principal of Maltings and New Rickstones Academies in Witham, Essex, has been appointed as executive principal of Bexleyheath Academy. Mr Szynal is an outstandingly effective principal, under whose leadership Maltings Academy has progressed to an Ofsted rating of outstanding, while New Rickstones Academy improved at its last rating up to Good, and is continuing on a strong trajectory of consistent improvement.

“Mr Szynal will be at Bexleyheath Academy full-time to lead and support the school as from September, when one of his first priorities will be to hold evenings for parents and assemblies for students.”

Parents had expressed concerns that Mr Pinchin’s exit was “not a choice [he has] made”, but the academy’s trust told us a decision on his contract was “mutually agreed”.

Mr Ian wrote to the school: “Something is failing with your recruitment, retention and management of not only principals but decent staff as a whole across the school.

“What our children need is stability, not another coalition of chaos of new staff, new rules, new practices.

“We would like you to explain yourselves to not just us, but every child that you have failed over the years because you cannot afford to provide strong and stable leadership.

“We are so sorry that you are having to leave Mr Pinchin. Thank you for all you did for our children and we wish you all the best in the future.”

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