We told you this one would run and run…and so following on from the further adventures Tom Quinn ,the Chief Executive of the Frank Field Education Trust (FFET) we bring you the latest (and predicted) twist in the tale.
The long awaited Ofsted report concerning Ellesmere Port Catholic High School (EPCHS) has been published and the rating of ‘Inadequate’ it will no doubt gladden the heart of Quinn – who we have no doubt has his beady eye on the school as part of the expansionist plans of FFET.
The full report can be read here
However before we publish a series of stories which provide both detailed research, personal accounts and opposing views about what is going on at South Wirral High School, Whitby High School and EPCHS we bring you the latter’s response to Ofsted’s suggestion that the senior leaders of EPCHS have an ‘overgenerous view’ of the quality of education at their school.
Until the local elections there was a very strong response to our “At stages in the future, people will have to account for their actions. I’m willing to answer for mine.” – Frank Field story which outlined how Tom Quinn (CEO) and operations manager (Sally Mitchell) at Holy Family Catholic Academy Trust had left amid an internal investigation concerned with a black hole in the Trust’s budget totalling several hundreds of thousands of pounds.
You may recall a statement from the Diocese of Shrewsbury, which founded the Wirral-based trust, which said Quinn and Mitchell left “with the mutual consent of the trustee directors” . Quinn also served as executive headteacher at the Holy Family’s St John Plessington Catholic College.
Our interest was piqued by the fact that Quinn and Mitchell are also respectively interim chief executive and interim chief finance officer at Frank Field Education Trust. Subsequently we’ve done further research and from what we’ve found out we think this one will run and run…
At the beginning of this school year, Field’s flagship academy in Ellesmere Port – rated inadequate by OFSTED – was competing against two good-rated local schools – Whitby and The Catholic High. At that point, Quinn was Field’s acting CEO.
These schools were inspected in February and March respectively. Whitby was downgraded to ‘Requires Improvement’ and The Catholic High has not yet published (why so long?)
These would appear to be both surprise judgements at schools where progress is in line with national averages – so both expected to be ‘good’. An unexpected levelling of the playing field in favour of Frank’s new academy?
As we now know Quinn is now fully appointed.
FACT: Lead inspector in the Whitby inspection, was Erica Sharman – Tom Quinn’s deputy at Plessington.
The other Senior HMI at both inspections was a certain Will Smith – a former History teacher from Manchester. It’s probably just a coincidence that someone with the same name sat on the Plessington Multi Academy Trust (MAT) governing board briefly in 2017-18. Probably.
However it would appear to be a definite conflict of interest in the case of Sharman – her then boss Quinn could be said to have had a direct personal interest in the downgrading of these two Ellesmere Port schools which helps clear the path for Field’s expansionist desires. After all Expanding MATs need failing local schools so it helps to have a little sway with OFSTED. Could just be a coincidence.
We can only ask whether Department of Education adviser Quinn have used his influence in OFSTED against Ellesmere Port’s maintained schools in the interests of his own academies’ ambitions? Might this show of power have secured him the full-time job at Field’s Multi-Academy Trust (MAT)? He certainly seems to have accumulated vast influence and ruthlessly culled staff . Could the recent inspections be an act of retribution against the LA? Whatever the motivation it certainly helps to clear the path for Field’s expansionist desires. Expanding MATs need failing local schools so it helps to have a little sway with OFSTED. I expect already sizing up their next targets.
Much of the correspondence we have received about Quinn – which is echoed (pun intended) in the local press uses the ‘B’ word to describe his modus operandi . For clarification the ‘B’ word is ‘Bully’ although other ‘B’ words are available . From another perspective this might be perceived as ‘outstanding leadership’.
However we know he has ruthlessly culled staff at schools he has taken over. Lots of crushed careers whilst he has accumulated vast influence. In other words – just another Frank Field acolyte where you have to be an ugly bully or a useful idiot.
It wouldn’t surprise us if OFSTED were in Quinn’s pocket. His model of ‘leadership and control’ is desired at the very highest political levels, where academisation of all schools is openly desired. It’s just another cabal.
Then there’s Field’s co-founder, Tory donor David Ross, about which there are serious concerns. Ross even tried to get the OFSTED top job. Because he cares so much about education? Yeah, right! These people want to own private schools, run them with public money and keep the cream.
Which leaves us wondering where all the money went at Plessington?…Just sayin’!
Well that’ll be a first! we all cry at Leaky Towers.
And what you might ask has inspired this latest portentous statement by the Birkenhead MP with a particular flair for melodrama?
Well, this is an interesting little story that just might become a very big story indeed. The quote above comes from an excellent piece in Schools Week titled DfE policy adviser leaves trust amid finance investigation. We admit it is not one of our regular reads but our readers are an educated bunch and one of them tipped us the wink about this particular story which concerns :
A chief executive and operations manager at an academy trust have left their posts amid an internal investigation over a budget black hole supposedly totalling several hundreds of thousands of pounds.
Tom Quinn, chief executive at Holy Family Catholic Multi-Academy Trust, left his post last week, alongside operations director Sally Mitchell.
Quinn is a member of the secondary headteacher reference group, a select group of “leading headteachers” that advise and influence the Department for Education’s policy development.
A statement from the Diocese of Shrewsbury, which founded the Wirral-based trust, said Quinn and Mitchell left “with the mutual consent of the trustee directors” on Thursday. Quinn also served as executive headteacher at the Holy Family’s St John Plessington Catholic College. The school’s chair of governors, John Williams, has also resigned.
Schools Week understands that an internal financial investigation is ongoing surrounding potentially several hundreds of thousands of pounds of cash missing from the trust’s budget. The trust would not comment on this allegation.
Quinn and Mitchell are also respectively interim chief executive and interim chief finance officer at Frank Field Education Trust.
Needless to say Wirral Leaks has already run several stories on the Frank Field Education Trust and the questionable connections that Frankenfield has made in the set up of this almighty (no pun intended) and monumental vanity project. Liverpool Echo have belatedly caught up with their Super head who left role a week ago amid investigation has ALREADY got a new top job story where Field comments : “On behalf of the Board, we are looking forward tremendously to working with Tom in boosting the life chances of children who, without his ability, would have opportunities denied to them.” The Frank Field Education Trust itself did not comment on the little local difficulty involving Tom Quinn and his sudden departure from the Holy Family Catholic Multi-Academy Trust and St John Plessington Catholic College.
However Field is a lot more forthcoming in Schools Week. After the Frank Field Education Trust refused to comment on the grounds that there was an ongoing investigation the man himself was up to his usual tricks and when questioned about the Holy Family’s ongoing investigation, Field added:
As things unfold, we must try and understand why people have tried to bring down one of our great headmasters. The most important thing for me is to bind myself with Tom. I have never ever doubted his qualities, his brilliance in teaching, his honesty.
At stages in the future, people will have to account for their actions. I’m willing to answer for mine.
Oh, if only that were the case! We can only hope and pray that one day those final words will come back and bite Field hard and where it hurts most – his ego. All we do know that whilst at this stage we can’t comment on Mr Quinn’s qualities – good or bad – we do know that based on the dodgy acolytes and dubious chancers that Field has surrounded himself with over the years that he has consistently proved to be an appalling judgment of character…
Another big news week for the Birkenhead MP .
Firstly comes the news that a struggling Ellesmere Port secondary school has now transferred to The Frank Field Education Trust after crisis-ridden University of Chester Academies Trust (UCAT) abolished itself. But as Cheshire Live reports there are concerns about the move. Ray McHale of West Cheshire Trades Union Council commented :
“We only recently heard that Frank Field was establishing a free school – and his trust is now in charge of its first primary school in Wilmslow. That school is rated outstanding by Ofsted. However, to hand a struggling secondary school to a trust with no experience seems to be courting further problems rather than finding a solution.”
But what’s as long as Frankenfield gets his name on another building eh?
Of course the right Royal coup of this week’s Prince Harry/Meghan visit to Birkenhead which served primarily as a distraction from the local political upheaval that Frankenfield faces. However even the fawning local press couldn’t compete with The Daily Telegraph (aka Torygraph) titled Duchess of Sussex reveals she is six months pregnant with the baby due in April or May when it came to squirming sycophancy. We defy you to read an extract from this report without a) throwing up and b) wanting to refer Field for a psychiatric assessment :
The couple visited Number 7, a cafe and supermarket which offers discounted foods to help those on lower incomes live within their means…
Before departing, the Duke and Duchess were asked to to jointly unveil a plaque officially declaring Number 7 open, as Mr Field said his short speech had been inspired by Meghan’s own words to him.
“Ma’am as you said, it’s a great example to the country and to the world,” he told her. “Yes it is,” she replied, nodding…
Of the supermarket, he added: ”We want it to be better than Waitrose.”
Whilst ‘Megalomania’ and ‘Delusional’ were the first two words that came to mind we’d be grateful if someone could remind us which century are we living in again? Back to Foodbank Frank’s beloved Victorian era where poor people knew their place, were ever so humble and bowed and scraped to their ‘betters (i.e people with more money and power than them). Meanwhile a couple of days later Prince Harry and Meghan rock up at the Royal Albert Hall for a Cirque Du Soleil gig with the latter all dolled up in a £3,400 Roland Mouret frock – see here. Wonder whether she picked up the sparkly number at Number 7? After all we know that Frank has aspirations for the enterprise -‘Today Birkenhead, Tomorrow the World!”- which are all well and good , but better than Waitrose? That’ll be the day you can buy a Roland Mouret frock in T J Hughes!
From the Daily Telegraph it’s a natural progression to the Morning Star as we bring you news of a pretender to Frankenfield’s crown. As you can read in the Morning Star’s story Fight to replace Frank field kicks off in Birkenhead
THE fight to replace Frank Field as MP for Birkenhead kicked off today as veteran trade unionist Mick Whitley announced his candidacy.
Mr Whitley, formerly a long-standing convener at the Vauxhall car plant in nearby Ellesmere Port, was born in the area and is the former north-west regional secretary of the Unite union.
He has gained the support of Momentum, which holds a powerful presence in north-west England, while left-wing MPs such as John McDonnell, Rebecca Long-Bailey and Dan Carden have voiced their support.
The local branches of Unite, FBU, RMT, BFAWU and Aslef have also formally endorsed Mr Whitley’s candidacy.
Sources in the Labour Party have told the Star that right-wing former MEP Theresa Griffin is likely to also contest the seat.
Mr Field, first elected to Parliament in 1979, has been unpopular among local Labour members since the 1980s.
He lost a vote of no confidence in August last year, before resigning the Labour whip — and thus automatically leaving the party — a month later.
Mr Field meet Mr Whitley :
Following the revelation about the forthcoming free school forming part of ”The Frank Field Education Trust’ chain, we were left wondering about the ideological foundations behind the development .We were thinking it has the whiff of ‘The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie ‘ about it ( ” Give me a girl at an impressionable age and she is mine for life” ) Coincidentally there is an extremely prescient blog post dating back to 2010 titled ‘The Prime of Miss Frank Field’ which we would like to recommend but as this is a family blog we’ll leave you to Google as it’s strictly parental advisory!
Fortunately we can turn to Professor Gregg ( ‘The Prof’) for a much more eloquent exploration of the drive and motivation behind the creation of a ‘Neo-Victorian Moral Utopia’ which is derived from Frank’s own works.
Frank’s Brave New World : The Role of Education
So Frank Field is trying again to impose his model of society on Wirral, this time through the education system. Perhaps it would be wise to look at that his ideological foundations before we applaud this initiative. The best way to do that is to consider his literary master work, ‘Neighbours From Hell’ which is highly recommended.
‘The natural authority that society requires for its proper functioning is being overrun by the storm troopers of nihilistic behaviour. It is becoming ever more necessary for that authority which is fundamental to the operation of a free society, and which was once freely accepted, to be imposed’
‘Moral and civic duties provide the very foundations upon which civilised life is built
and are a proper area for legislative prescription and if necessary sanctions’
Readers may already begin to detect a small disconnect here between a free society and the imposition of Frank’s views on morality and enforced authority. We must also understand that when Frank talks of ‘Frankian’ intervention he is thinking big. For example
‘Tackling the breakdown of the common decencies culture requires an effort equal
to that which is mobilised for war …Just as wars are too important to be left to
generals, so parenting is too vital to society’s wellbeing to be left to parents unaided’
Generals of course are experienced, often competent, experts. Frank, as an obviously experienced expert in parenting, is going to rebuild the education system in his own image.
But Frank lives alone in his high tower, unmarried and childless, from which he looks down on the rest of us in righteous judgement as we struggle below to do the best for our families, however inadequately. Frank believes lack of a family gives him a godlike objectivity!
Teaching the elements of good parenting and indeed citizenship in schools is a sensible innovation so long as unnecessary and ill-founded ideological baggage is not built into the package. As we read on consider whether such baggage could ever be excluded under Frank’s model and influence. The imposition of new authority is to come via ‘citizen contracts’ and pseudo-religious ceremonies covering all aspects of our lives.
‘The new citizen contract would spell out for the first time the duties society places on
citizens by linking them to benefit entitlements’
‘The celebration and registration of the birth of a citizen, the signing of pupil’s school contracts, the contracts for drawing income support, housing benefit, incapacity benefit and the like, and the celebratory contract for citizens as they reach the state retirement age, will each offer the community the opportunity to teach through the registrar, priest, teacher, trade union official or benefit clerk, what the duties and rights of citizenship involve’
These teaching agents he calls ‘enforcement officers’. Just to be clear what Frank means by teaching he also says
‘…new boundaries need to be drawn… Benefits provide such a boundary as between
them they provide a universal coverage for those most likely to commit antisocial
Frank has told us that antisocial behaviour and bad parenting are phenomena of the undeserving poor in the underclass but also that he is not ‘poor bashing’. Yet it is the poorest who will experience Frank’s benefit sanctions for behaviour he disapproves of. Remember that in his Birkenhead, 55% of adults depend on out of work benefits, never mind those on working tax credits and the rest. So we will combat hunger and re-programme the undeserving poor using benefit sanctions if necessary…er, but won’t that increase their hunger? Won’t they need Foodbanks? Didn’t Frank condemn the Coalition and Conservative governments for making benefit sanctions and cuts?
The well off, who do not need benefits, are outside such sanctions but in Frank’s Utopia they would still suffer the indignity of being lectured about their responsibilities to the
state as Frank sees them, by his approved agents: priests, politicians and minor state ‘enforcement officers’. How will such sanctions be enforced in Frank’s Neo-Victorian
‘The agency deciding what action should follow a repeated failure to meet a [citizen’s] contract should be the police and only the police. Once the police have the required evidence to levy a sanction, and then lodge that decision, the sanction should automatically come in to operation on the appropriate benefit.’
So the police are to become the only enforcement arm of Frank’s Moral Renewal Jihad. The involvement of the police in controlling benefit provision surely makes Frank’s fundamental political attitudes and intentions only too plain. What would come next we might wonder? Well Frank tells us in the third element of his final solution, which is to combat the voices of ‘nihilism’ in the interests of protecting his idea of a ‘free society’. But do not worry dear reader, since
‘In no way is Neighbours From Hell advocating some kind of thought police…At no point is the aim of NFH to open a window into the minds, thoughts or beliefs of voters… The attempt of critics to occupy the high ground is misplaced for although the new politics is different it is most definitely not about invading the private as opposed to trying to influence what goes on in the public domain’
Yes, in Frank’s ‘1984’ Utopia you are free to think what you like …in private. However
‘We enter a different domain when these private views are expressed in public …Private opinions are usually made public with one objective. They are offered in the hope or determination to change the views of other people. Once such opinions are made regularly in a concerted way in public the guardians of our public space have a responsibility to consider the impact on the public peace…If the new politics can be said to be about anything it is how to challenge the private views and values which are impacting so adversely on public conduct’
So, what do we have? Replacing parents with Frank’s educational storm troopers; Imposing citizen’s contracts; Using the police to enforce Frank’s social sanctions; suppressing free speech if it disagrees with Frank’s ideology. Considering all these views, do we really want Frank imposing his model of a moral and social utopia on our local schools? We could just invite in the Taliban or Boko Haram instead.
Professor D Gregg
As we highlighted in our Bye, Bye, By Election! Hello, Brooklynhead Boulevard! article Birkenhead MP Frank Field’s political activities are somewhat curtailed at the moment. However we also predicted that this wouldn’t prevent Field seeking further publicity in pursuing his own political and personal agendas.
Therefore we are instigating a series of posts titled ‘Fieldwatch’ where we identify some of the MSM stories featuring Frankenfield during his self imposed political sabbatical which we find particularly interesting.
First up is this scary development ,one which surprisingly (or perhaps ,unsurprisingly) has not appeared in the local MSM, and which was announced in Schools Week under the headline Labour MP joins millionaire Tory donor to open new free school
Veteran Labour politician Frank Field and high-profile Tory donor David Ross have been granted permission to jointly open a free school with a view to taking control of some existing schools later this year.
The Frank Field Education Trust is the brainchild of the MP for Birkenhead, and Ross, the millionaire founder of Carphone Warehouse, who chairs the New Schools Network.
Initially called The Cathedral Academies Trust, Field’s chain was approved as an academy sponsor in 2016, but changed its name in April to acknowledge that “most people referred to it as Frank Field’s Trust”.
Frank’s long-term commitment to resolving social inequality remains a key focus, and the aims of the trust transcend any political interests
Documents show the government has cleared the trust to open the Liverpool Free School, though it is not known where and when the school will start accepting pupils.
The chain has also expressed its desire to take control of a number of existing “outstanding” schools later this academic year.
The news follows Field’s decision on August 30 to resign from the Labour Party whip, meaning he is no longer required to vote with the party in Parliament. He quit in protest over Jeremy Corbyn’s handling of Labour’s ongoing antisemitism crisis.
Although this is quite possibly one of the most frightening things we’ve ever read we did guffaw at the lines about the aims of the trust transcending any political interests – yeah right ! – and of course most people would refer to the academy sponsor as ‘Frank Field’s Trust ‘ because ultimately it would appear to be an ideologically driven vanity project.
Could it be that the local MSM who are in thrall to Field have been reluctant to cover this story as it is reminiscent as of an embarrassing episode from July 2009. As Field wrote on his blog at the time he was as an enthusiastic supporter of plans to establish a ‘Birkenhead Boys’ Academy’
I was in Birkenhead Park at a press conference with David Hughes. David is a local boy who has made good, big time.
He is the sponsor of the new Academy that will replace two of Birkenhead’s schools.
David is very clear that the new Academy will produce an education which is technically based and prepares young people for highly paid skilled jobs.
He is also fanatical about the school being sports-based and being open for business for the local area for sixteen hours a day, 52 weeks of the year.
We will now have our work cut out in getting all the plans in place so the Academy opens next summer. A spanking new school needs to be built.
Read full blog post here : Academy is opportunity to address needs of young people
Unfortunately plans came unstuck a month later when the following information about the lead sponsor of the Birkenhead Boys Academy was revealed by the Times Educational Supplement (TES) :
A businessman who failed to pay a fine of more than £1 million has been appointed as the lead sponsor of a new academy in the Wirral, raising further concerns over England’s academies programme.
David Hughes, who has been named as the main backer of Birkenhead Boys’ Academy in the Wirral, was involved in a price-fixing scandal when he ran the Allsports chain of sport shops.
Mr Hughes’s company was fined £1.35 million in 2003 by the Office of Fair Trading for participating in a cartel that agreed to sell replica football shirts at set prices.
Following an appeal by the company, the fine was increased to £1.42 million because of Mr Hughes’s failure to co-operate with the original investigation.
Allsports did not pay the fine and two years later the company fell into administration. Mr Hughes, a multimillionaire, also ran a property business, which went into administration this year. The entrepreneur was named as the lead sponsor for one of two new academies planned for Birkenhead last month.
Read full story here : Sponsor has £1m in unpaid fines
Even his close political allies at Wirral Council weren’t prepared to indulge Frankenfield’s fantasies after this particularly spectacular failure of due diligence, which is just as well as the thought of a ‘spanking new school’ endorsed by the Birkenhead MP doesn’t bear thinking about. We just hope Field has done his background checks on another sports retailer who he hopes to court and fete. As was reported last week Field is currently wanting to meet with Sports Direct founder Mike Ashley and negotiate for the House of Fraser store in moribund Birkenhead Precinct to remain open. Read here
Mr Ashley is most certainly a colourful character about whom it was alleged that at a business management meeting he drank 12 pints with vodka chasers and vomited into a pub fireplace. So that promises to be an interesting meeting! More significantly Ashley has been repeatedly severely criticised over his business, employment and financial practices . Read here and here
Isn’t it curious how selective Field is in his public criticism of certain businessmen? Compare and contrast above with his repeated (if justified) criticism of ‘Sir’ Philip Green. Can you imagine the feigned outrage if anyone suggested that there was even a whiff of anti- you-know-what involved?
All we will say is that with the Labour Party Conference coming up in Liverpool next week and Jeremy Corbyn addressing the faithful at the Pier Head over the weekend that Field is going to have to go some with his MSM mates if he’s to upstage his potential political nemesis.