Council bosses have fired a warning shot across the bows of a Leeds school following the shock resignation of its principal.
Helen Lane stepped down from her position at Seacroft’s E-ACT Leeds East Academy just a few days into the new term.
The school’s chair of governors, Dr Ian Kenvyn, quit on the same day as Ms Lane.
Leeds East’s academy status means it is autonomous from Leeds City Council, with control of its performance and finances lying with its sponsor, the not-for-profit social enterprise E-ACT. However, statutory guidance set out by the Government means council bosses have ultimate responsibility for the education of all youngsters in their area, irrespective of the kind of school they attend.
And today the local authority confirmed to the Yorkshire Evening Post that it had left E-ACT in no doubt about the high standards it wanted to see.
Paul Brennan, the council’s deputy director for children’s services, said: “We have a duty to ensure children across the city are receiving a good level of education.
“We expect the highest standards of provision from academy sponsors such as E-ACT and we have made them aware of this.
“We work very well with E-ACT and they have assured us that the best possible support is being provided to Leeds East Academy.”
The council has, though, stopped short of launching the investigation into Ms Lane’s departure that was last week demanded by Leeds East MP George Mudie.
Mr Mudie called on the council to find out what part, if any, E-ACT had played in her resignation.
Ms Lane was in charge at Leeds East Academy when it opened in September last year as a replacement for Parklands Girls’ High School.
State schools that become academies receive their funding direct from the Government rather than their local council.
They get greater freedom to set their curriculum, admission criteria, holiday times and employment policies.
Many academies also have sponsors such as businesses, charities and faith bodies.