Suspended head back at school

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The Independent Online

A headteacher credited with turning round one of the worst performing schools in the country has won his battle against suspension after allegations of financial mismanagement.

A headteacher credited with turning round one of the worst performing schools in the country has won his battle against suspension after allegations of financial mismanagement.

Richard Ewen, head of Islington Arts and Media School in north London, was back at his desk yesterday after a climbdown by his employers, CEA@Islington, the private company which runs the borough's schools.

His suspension three weeks ago provoked an outcry from parents and headteachers' leaders, and the school's governing body called for his immediate reinstatement. Education officials claimed they had suspended him because the school's budget had fallen £800,000 into the red.

In 2000, the school, under its previous head, Torsten Freidag, was branded as one of the worst in the country after a BBC television documentary showed fighting and racial tension and revealed that teachers had not even been given timetables for lessons.

Since Mr Ewen took over exam results have improved dramatically with 47 per cent of pupils getting five grade A* to C passes at GCSE this summer - compared to just 20 per cent two years ago.

Ofsted, the education standards watchdog, said in a report this year: "[Mr Ewen] provides outstanding leadership that is raising the aspirations and expectations of staff and pupils."

CEA@Islington and its parent company, Cambridge Education, said in a statement yesterday that they were "delighted that Dick Ewen will return to his excellent work as headteacher at IAMS".

Governors said the school had begun to address its financial problems - with class sizes being increased this year.

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