DESPITE the recommendation of governors and a hope that three Corringham and Stanford-le-Hope schools might stay under the same control, it has emerged the government is to put Corringham’s Gable Hall School under the control of one of its favourite academy trusts.
While it appears that the future leadership of Gable Hall is decided, mystery surrounds what will happen to Hassenbrook Academy secondary school and Corringham Primary.
All three schools have been under the management of the Ortu Federation, which was set up in the summer of 2011 and within two years had taken on Corringham primary. Hassenbrook, which was struggling as an academy in its own right, came under its wing in 2016.
The Federation was led by the domineering and often somewhat eccentric Dr Sophina Asong who had her own style of autocratic leadership and, history is likely to reveal, was often at odds with her schools’ governing bodies.
Gable Hall, once rated as one of Britain’s top secondary schools under the 18-year tenure of legendary head John King OBE, began a slow decline under her initial headship when she succeeded Mr King and that slide continued when she moved on to become the Federation’s CEO. The school’s Ofsted inspections deteriorated, culminating in the announcement that the school was rated inadequate in July last year.
When Dr Asong stepped up, Clive Stokes held the post of head for less than two years, before Ceri Evans was appointed in 2018.
Mr Evans was to carry the can for the Ofsted report. As many parents clamoured for a change of leadership in the Federation, it was announced (after a period of secrecy) that he had tendered his resignation in the wake of the inspection.
Mr Evans, who has yet to speak publicly on the matter, was popular with many parents and pupils who did not blame him for the school’s demise. A petition calling for his reinstatement was signed by many hundreds of local people and protests took place outside the school with the Federation leadership the target of criticism.
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