The chain of academies set to take over two schools at the centre of the Trojan Horse scandal is axing staff while one head teacher has quit, the Birmingham Post can reveal.
From September, the Ark chain is set to take over Oldknow Academy in Small Heath and Golden Hillock School in Saltley – just over a year after Ofsted plunged them into special measures following a plot by hard-line Muslims to take control of governing bodies.
Oldknow is set to be renamed Ark Chamberlain Primary Academy as it battles to break with its troubled past, but the Post can reveal the woman set to become its executive principal is to quit before she has even begun.
Rebecca Garratt, current head teacher at Ark Tindal Primary Academy in Balsall Heath – the school lined up to provide support to Oldknow – will leave the Ark chain at the end of August.
An Ark spokeswoman said: “Mrs Garratt will be leaving the Ark network on August 31 to take up the position of headteacher of Wyre Forest School in Kidderminster.
“There is strong leadership support from across the Ark network to ensure the smooth transition of both Golden Hillock School and Oldknow Academy into the network in September.”
The move comes after Oldknow’s head teacher Bhupinder Kondal announced last month she is to quit the school for a second time and is due to leave at the end of this academic year to pursue “a fresh challenge”.
In January 2014, Ms Kondal claimed she had been forced to resign having being undermined and over-ruled by a group trying to impose a strict Muslim ethos.
She returned to the school last September after the academy’s board of trustees was replaced – but last November education watchdog Ofsted revealed the school had not improved enough and Ms Kondal had “struggled to get the academy back on track”.
Meanwhile, Ark has revealed a new head teacher has been found to replace Ms Kondal.
Wendy Baxter, currently headteacher at Meadstead Primary Academy in Barnsley, will start at Oldknow in September.
She said: “I am delighted. I am looking forward to working with the staff , pupils and parents during the summer term as we prepare for the transition to Ark.
“I am sure that together we can all work to provide the very best education for our children.”
Meanwhile, Ark revealed that four “support staff” were set to be made redundant at Ark Kings Academy in Kings Norton as the school faces funding cutbacks.
She added: “There is currently a review of support staff taking place at Ark Kings Academy brought about in part as a result of decreased national funding and increased costs. The proposed support staff structure would see a reduction of four posts and the proposals are currently under consultation with staff and unions.”
Ark, which has 31 academies in the UK, is run by an education charity.