Merger plan head retires

NILALM110516D1 - Bennerley Business and Enterprise College head teacher Eddie De Middelaer
NILALM110516D1 - Bennerley Business and Enterprise College head teacher Eddie De Middelaer

Governors at a Cotmanhay school, threatened with closure, are angry that they were not told about the principal’s retirement.

A staff source at Ormiston Enterprise Academy, formerly Bennerley school, informed governor Cllr Brian Lucas on Monday that Eddie de Middelaer had told the academy’s owners he was leaving back in September.

Gareth Jones, interim principal at Ormiston Enterprise Academy.

Gareth Jones, interim principal at Ormiston Enterprise Academy.

Cllr Lucas has blasted the timing of the departure of the Mr de Middelaer, who is also executive principal of Ormiston Ilkeston Academy, and the fact that no governors were informed until two months later

The results of a public consultation into the closure of the Cotmanhay site and merger with the Ilkeston school are currently being analysed by Ormiston Trust.

“I am absolutely appalled about this latest twist in the saga of schools controlled by the Ormiston Trust,” he said.

“The resignation of a school principal is a serious matter, but at a time when the very future of these schools is at stake, to be kept in the dark since September is utterly contemptible.

“I’ve been given this as leaked information – we’ve heard nothing from the trust.”

And in an email to Mr de Middelaer, seen by the ‘Tiser, parent governor Mick Treacy asked: “I would like to know who in the organisation thought that the resignation of the principal was not deemed important?”

Mr Treacy threatened to inform the Department for Education and OFSTED if things do not improve at the school in the next six months.

But Ormiston said that Mr de Middelaer is retiring – not resigning – at the end of December because of ‘family health reasons’, which he did not want to disclose back in September.

A spokesman for the trust said: “Ormiston Enterprise Academy Governors were formally informed today (Tuesday) and a letter has been sent to parents.

“The announcement hasn’t been made until now in order to respect Mr de Middelaer’s wishes, due to the sensitive nature of his reasons for leaving.”

The trust has appointed Gareth Jones as interim principal to start in January.

He has been a vice principal of the Ormiston Sir Stanley Matthews Academy in Stoke for almost three years

The spokesman added that Mr Jones ‘will provide effective and strong leadership to ensure that our focus continues on delivering a high standard of teaching and learning for our students.’

The recruitment process for a new principal will start in the new year, she said.

“We thank Mr de Middelaer for his dedication to the Academies and wish him all the best in his retirement after a distinguished 35 year career.”

Ormiston’s board will next make a recommendation to the Government on whether to close the Cotmanhay school.