Head is suspended over £800,000 debt

Click to follow
The Independent Online

The headteacher who transformed a school once called the worst in the country after a TV documentary has been suspended following allegations of financial mismanagement.

The headteacher who transformed a school once called the worst in the country after a TV documentary has been suspended following allegations of financial mismanagement.

Richard Ewen is widely credited with achieving remarkably improved exam results at the controversial Islington Arts and Media School in north London. But education officials claim they were forced to suspend him as a result of the school plunging £800,000 into the red.

This summer saw the number of pupils at the school gaining five grade A* to C grade passes at GCSE rise to 47 per cent from 20 per cent two years ago and 7 per cent in 1999. Mr Ewen took over after a fly-on-the-wall TV documentary exposed it as being in chaos. The then "superhead", Torsten Freidag, resigned amid tales of racial tension, pupils fighting and classes sent home.

However, Mr Ewen is now under financial investigation by CEA@Islington - the private company that runs schools in Islington borough. CEA@Islington said it ordered Mr Ewen to cut the deficit last year when it reached £682,000 but there was no evidence of any action taken. Bill Clark, director of schools services for CEA, said: "The suspension is a precautionary measure to ensure an investigation can proceed unimpeded."

Ofsted, the education standards watchdog, has praised the improvements at the school.

Comments