Vote of no confidence in Cowes Enterprise College principal

By Emily Pearce

Thursday, April 24, 2014


Vote of no confidence in Cowes Enterprise College principal

Cowes Enterprise College principal Rebecca Pearce. Picture by Peter Boam.

A VOTE of no confidence in Cowes Enterprise College principal Rebecca Pearce was overwhelmingly carried by school staff.

More than 50 staff attended a union-organised meeting last night (Wednesday), to discuss redundancies and pay cuts proposed by school bosses.

As previously reported, 26 support staff and five teachers face redundancy as the school tries to cut a projected budget deficit of almost £900,000, blamed on falling student numbers. Those who escape the cull face pay cuts of thousands of pounds.

Union bosses said staff had no confidence in Ms Pearce’s leadership and were dismayed by a lack of clarity and communication regarding the proposed restructure. They called for an urgent meeting with governors.

The governing body and Ormiston Academies Trust, due to take over the school in September, issued a joint statement: "Unhappiness is inevitable during periods of challenge and change, but the principal is focused on getting the best possible education for the students at the college within the available resources.

"The principal has received very positive feedback, including from Ofsted. We will do all we can to achieve a resolution satisfactory to all."

Isle of Wight NUT secretary John McGee said: "The changes are being implemented with unseemly haste. There has been no clarity on the new job roles, no explanation of how the new structure will work."

Unison branch secretary Mark Chiverton said support staff felt particularly undervalued after Ms Pearce publicly questioned their impact.

"No-one voted in support of the principal, who has failed to explain the rationale behind the restructure or her role in devising it. Staff are dismayed by the multiple issues at the school, which are further undermining its reputation in the eyes of parents and the community," he said.

A similar vote of no confidence in chair of governors Rachael Fidler had been considered, but not taken, to give the governing body a chance to respond, said Mr Chiverton.

A public meeting to discuss building problems that have plagued the £32 million publicly-funded school building, called for by the Isle of Wight County Press, is to be held at Cowes Enterprise College on Monday.

The meeting starts at 6pm and is open to all.

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