Major review at Catholic academy where headteacher is under investigation

The Manchester Evening News is reporting that what it calls ‘a root and branch review’ is underway at a local academy where a headteacher is under investigation.

It is understood the board of governors is now being scrutinised at St Paul’s Catholic High School in Wythenshawe.

The headteacher, Fiona Minshall, has been off since September due to ‘personal reasons’ and faces an investigation into ‘leadership and management’.

During Mrs Minshall’s absence a separate review into the way the school is governed has been launched.

A power struggle between the board of governors and the Wythenshawe Catholic Academy Trust is believed to be at the heart of the review.

St Paul’s became part of the trust – also known as a multi academy trust – in 2013…

Sources close to the school say the shake-up could see the board of governors forced out as soon as next week…

John Gretton, chair of Governors, said no final decision had been made and the board was operating as usual.

In letter due to be sent out to parents on Wednesday morning, Mr Gretton said: “As we start the new term I wanted to update you as to the leadership and management arrangements at St Paul’s Catholic High School as there has been some misinformation posted on social media.

Parents have complained about the lack of transparency at the school regarding Mrs Minshall’s absence…

More at: Major review at St Paul’s Catholic High School where headteacher is under investigation


I know there are usually good reasons, but yet again it seems the parents are the last to know what is going on.

The inevitable consequence is much speculation on social media, which cannot be in anyone’s best interest.

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  1. TW

    Or perhaps it’s the board of governors that are the last to know.  As part of a MAT their school is effectively there to do as it is told by the Trust as and when the Trust chooses to issue instructions to its vassal components.  Did the members of the board of governors not understand what they were getting into?

  2. The newspaper says the head, Ms Minshall, has been off work since September.  But the school’s website still names her as head.  There is no mention of her absence in the academy’s Autumn 2015 newsletter.

  3. @TW This case is complicated because the MAT is registered at St Paul’s School.  St Paul’s, then, is the MAT’s head office. Ms Minshall, St Paul’s absent head, is registered as one of the MAT’s directors.   John Gretton, head of St Paul’s board of governors, is also a MAT director.  
    However, there are many governors who are not MAT directors.  It appears from the newspaper report there’s disagreement between non-MAT directors and MAT directors.

  4. St Paul’s Catholic High School was judged Inadequate in Jan 2015.   The predecessor school was Good.  Ofsted said Ms Minshall had been appointed head in the previous 12 months and there’d been a high turnover of staff.  
    Subsequent monitoring revealed no discord between governors, MAT or Ms Minshall.  It said the school was moving in the right direction but there was still much to do.  The last monitoring (Sept 2015) said Ms Minshall was ‘highly-focussed’ although some staff and students needed to ‘more fully embrace’ the culture of high expectations.  Ms Minshall’s ‘Strong focus and purposeful approach’ was listed as one of the school’s strengths.
    Puzzling, then, why she’s gone.

  5. peterabarnard

    SchoolsImprove Are academy chain CEOs bullies? They are certainly command managers…tend to ensure conformity rather than anything useful

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