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Chief executive and principal leave troubled Essex academy trust following suspension

PUBLISHED: 07:30 02 October 2018 | UPDATED: 15:30 02 October 2018

Nardeep Sharma has left his role at the Thrive Partnership Academy Trust Picture: ANDREW PARTRIDGE

Nardeep Sharma has left his role at the Thrive Partnership Academy Trust Picture: ANDREW PARTRIDGE

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Two senior members of a troubled Essex academy trust have left their positions – months after being suspended pending an investigation.

The Thrive Academy Partnership Trust, which runs Philip Morant School in Colchester and Colne Community School in Brightlingsea, has announced that Nardeep Sharma left his position as chief executive yesterday.

The trust also said that Catherine Hutley had left her position as executive principal on August 31.

“Replacements for Mr Sharma and Mrs Hutley are not being sought as the Trust, as previously announced, is currently going through a re-brokering process,” the trust added in a statement on its website.

“The Sigma Trust is taking over the management of the Philip Morant School and College and the Colne Community School and College. This process is expected to be completed by the end of 2018.”

Mr Sharma and Mrs Hutley were both suspended pending an investigation in April.

The academy trust did not disclose details of its investigation. However the suspensions followed concerns raised by Colchester MP Will Quince and Harwich and North Essex MP Bernard Jenkin, who told the Education Secretary Damian Hinds about “parents raising concerns over bullying, support for their children with special educational needs as well as the implementation of a ‘no homework’ policy at Philip Morant”.

The trust has been asked whether it will be announcing details of the allegations made against Mr Sharma and Mrs Hutley, however it has not yet responded.

A Department for Education spokesperson has been made aware of the situation.

“Following a request from the Thrive Partnership Academy Trust, ministers have agreed to find alternative sponsors for both schools with the capacity and expertise to offer pupils an excellent education,” a spokesman said.

“In the meantime, Regional Schools Commissioner Sue Baldwin is working closely with the trust to minimise disruption for pupils and staff.”

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