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Three new heads appointed to manage Essex academy trust following staff suspensions

PUBLISHED: 20:49 04 June 2018 | UPDATED: 06:26 05 June 2018

The Colne Community School and College in Brightlingsea Picture: ANDREW PARTRIDGE

The Colne Community School and College in Brightlingsea Picture: ANDREW PARTRIDGE

Three headteachers have been called in to manage an Essex academy trust after two senior members were suspended earlier this year.

Nardeep Sharma, who was suspended from the Thrive Academy Trust in March Picture: ANDREW PARTRIDGENardeep Sharma, who was suspended from the Thrive Academy Trust in March Picture: ANDREW PARTRIDGE

The Thrive Partnership Academy Trust runs Colchester’s Philip Morant School and Colne Community School in Brightlingsea.

The trust’s chief executive officer, Nardeep Sharma, and executive head teacher, Catherine Hutley, were suspended in March for unknown reasons.

As the trust prepares its next move, three headteacher trustees have been appointed to oversee the running of the schools.

The first of the trustees, Margaret Wilson, is chief executive of the Zenith Trust and headteacher of King John School in Benfleet and James Hornsby School in Basildon.

Catherine Hutley was one of the senior staff members suspended from the Thrive Academy Trust earlier this year Picture: DAVE HIGGLETONCatherine Hutley was one of the senior staff members suspended from the Thrive Academy Trust earlier this year Picture: DAVE HIGGLETON

The second, Stephen Munday, is chief executive at the Cam Academy Trust and principal of Comberton Village College, Cambridgeshire.

The chiefs will be assisted by Sarah Dignass, headteacher at Plume School in Maldon.

All three will be joined by Mark Jefferies, chairman of the Evolution Academy Trust, which runs eight primary schools in and around Norwich, Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft.

The new staff will assume their roles at Thrive while continuing their day jobs at their respective schools.

The Philip Morant School in Colchester Picture: LUCY TAYLORThe Philip Morant School in Colchester Picture: LUCY TAYLOR

Until now the trust had been managed on an interim basis by three senior staff from across the two schools.

Senior staff also received advice from Philip Hurst, headteacher at Thomas Mills High School in Framlingham.

It is unclear whether Mr Hurst will remain in his role at the trust following the appointment of the new heads. Speaking to this paper in April, Mr Hurst acknowledged that his role could come to an end at any moment.

It is understood that an Ofsted inspection has recently taken place at Philip Morant School – with the results yet to be made public.

At the time of the suspensions, a Thrive Partnership Academy spokesman said: “Suspension is a neutral act and enables the trust to carry out further work to establish the facts of the situation.

“There is no time frame for this as yet, but in the interest of all parties we will seek to conclude as soon as possible. We have established interim arrangements for the leadership of our schools.”

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