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’!