Head of Wellington Academy forced out by GCSE results

In a blow to Micahel Gove, the founding head of Wellington Academy has been forced out after disastrous GCSE results. Andy Schofield left the Wiltshire school last week after what were described as “unacceptable” results. This is from the Independent

The academy receives funding and guidance from Wellington College, the £30,000-a-year Berkshire independent school where the historian and Tony Blair’s biographer, Dr Anthony Seldon, is Master.

Mr Schofield, who helped to set up the academy which opened in 2009, was said to have paid the price for GCSE results in which the number of student receiving five A* to C grades dropped by 10 per cent in 12 months – falling from 47 to 37 per cent this year.

The academy, which offered 100 boarding places to pupils in 2012, was at the forefront of Mr Gove’s demands for independent schools to invest in the public schooling system. Eton College plans to sponsor a state boarding school, Holyport College, next year.

In 2011 – a year after Ofsted inspectors said that Wellington Academy was making “outstanding” progress – Mr Gove heaped praise on the project and challenged other private schools to follow suit, saying: “If you’re so good, why is Anthony Seldon proving that he is better at transforming state education than you are?”

…Yesterday, Mr Schofield was unavailable for comment, but he is thought to be represented now by the Association of School and College Leaders. “More later – for the time being in the hands of ASCL,” Mr Schofield wrote on his blog, which is still titled: “Sky blue thinking – teaching and learning at Wellington Academy.”

A source described it as “extraordinary” that Mr Schofield had been “summarily dismissed” on the basis of GCSE results, which reflected the “significant turbulence” triggered nationwide by harder tests and pressure on exam boards to set tougher grade boundaries.

Dr Seldon has taken over as the executive head of the academy while remaining Master of the Wellington College. Dr Michael Milner, currently the college’s director of studies, has been appointed acting principal of the academy.

More at:  Head of Wellington Academy forced out by GCSE results

Obviously there is much detail still to come out but are you aware of other situations where heads have been dismissed for a drop in exam results as suggested in this case? Please share your thoughts and experiences in the comments or on twitter… 

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Categories: Academies.


  1. 5N_Afzal

    I feel there is more to the story. Employment laws, contracts etc mean people usually can’t be dismissed as is implied in the story.

  2. JennyCampbellKl

    There is a British School in Tenerife which was reluctant to publish exam results in its entirety. Part results were published on the website – but it was difficult to find its location!
    The results were eventually analysed after the governors requested details; then the witch hunt began! The school has lost its focus and demonstrated forthright unprofessionalism to the detriment of the pupils/students.

  3. MikeBell

    The research is pretty clear:  there is no link between academy status and good learning.  Good learning happens in a good learning environment, created mostly by the skills of the classroom teachers.
    Clearly if a ‘failing’ school becomes an academy with new staff/head/buildings you are almost certain of improvement, but, if generally rolled out, we should expect no overall improvement.
    The real revolution is yet to come:  training teachers and leaders in the evidence about ‘what works’ and developing their skills to deliver it.
    You may like to join The http://www.ebtn.org.uk/k. (ebtn.org.uk)

  4. Chrysalis

    The Wellington boot. Shock horror. Posh private school discovers that children who do not come from ‘nice’ families, backed up by motivation, aspiration, and money, turn out to be a tad more difficult to teach than the pupils that come to Wellington School.
    What is MOST surprising is that anyone believes that transplanting ideas and staff from elite schools will work in any form in a more ‘average’ school. In my 35 years experience in a wide variety of schools, these so-called brilliant private school teachers would get eaten alive when faced by normal children, and when out of their cloistered surroundings, their teaching would be awful.

  5. CarolElizabeth

    5N_Afzal There is always a deal available when ‘they’ – whoever they are want someone to go. In this case I expect it was the academy’s board of governors which I assume consist mostly of people linked to Wellington College. This is nothing new – has happened with Local Authorities for years.

  6. misterhutt

    SchoolsImprove andylutwyche I know. My point was about factual inaccuracy. Why let the truth spoil a decent sound bite, eh?

  7. andylutwyche

    misterhutt SchoolsImprove My bad, but the point still relevant that private/public school sponsorship not a magic wand.

  8. andylutwyche

    misterhutt SchoolsImprove Conspiracy theorists might also suggest Ofsted would be inspecting like a shot had it not been what it is

  9. andylutwyche

    misterhutt SchoolsImprove It already ticks many Wilshaw/Gove/DfE’s boxes bar results so I imagine it will be spared Ofsted humiliation

  10. andylutwyche

    misterhutt SchoolsImprove Fortunately Ofsted and Sir Michael are apolitical and won’t let govt policy cloud their judgements

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