Staff pledge support for crisis-hit school

GOVERNORS and teachers at Woodroffe comprehensive school in Lyme Regis, Dorset, have moved quickly in an attempt to restore confidence in its future as a grant-maintained school.

A crisis meeting of 380 parents this week was told how Woodroffe's new management intended to tackle various problems after its first disaster-prone year as an opt-out school. These included debts of pounds 81,000 on a pounds 2m budget, the loss of seven teachers, the suspension of Paul Vittle, the head teacher, and a mutiny inside the Parent Teacher Association.

Backed by a renewed vote of confidence from 40 teachers, Tony Terrett, the school's new chairman of governors, promised better communications to ensure that 'misunderstandings and misinformation that had been rife in the past would not be allowed to confuse issues again'.

Mr Terrett, a Tory councillor, blamed part of the financial problems on a pounds 40,000 debt inherited from Dorset County Council. He said he was confident the school would be back in the black next year, as long as no one 'moved the goal posts', and appealed for Woodroffe to be left 'to return to its former role of providing the best possible comprehensive education in West Dorset'.