BREAKING NEWS : John Kyrle High School Taken to Court By Teacher - READ ABOUT THIS COURT CASE
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2020/21 News: In July 2020 the conduct of John Kyrle's Leadsership under Nigel Griffiths came under extensive scrutiny in an Employment Tribunal. In his capacity as Headteacher, Nigel Griffiths' team was seen to have treated a teacher very poorly, orchestrating a sham sacking with the judge observed a prime motivator for, was the dislike Nigel Griffiths had for her, and his long standing anti-union attitude.
On November 4th 2020, the judge released a statement, almost unheard of in length for an Employment Tribunal, 70-pages long.
Ofsted revealed that Nigel Griffiths has no longer been contracted by them since July 2020 (when the case began). When this became public knowledge the local paper, the Ross Gazette asked the school for comment. Mr Griffiths, at odds with what Ofsted had said, claimed he stood down temporarily from his Ofsted work on 26th November 2020, some 3 weeks after the case verdicts were released. The timing seemed odd and Ofsted have been asked to verify Mr Griffiths claims which seem to not bear any resemblance to what Ofsted had themselves said. Ofsted also stated that there had been no Ofsted Inspections since March 2020 when the COVID19 pandemic began, and hence Mr Griffiths had no work to temporarily step away from. This was also questioned by many as Mr Griffiths had claimed he was standing down temporarily to concentrate on COVID19 challenges at his own school any yet there was no Ofsted work to step away from (and, as mentioned above, he was no longer contracted by Ofsted at the time he claims to have temporarily paused his Ofsted work.
Mr Griffiths was observed by the Court to have exclaimed "FIG-JAM" (F**k I'm Good, Just Ask Me) when attempting to gather information he could use against the teacher he had animus towards, upon thinking he'd found something he could use.
Mental Health, and the quest for a public meeting with John Kyrle High School...
Nigel Griffiths has been asked to have a simple meeting about Mental Health issues observed and experienced at JKHS.
This meeting has been requested by over 300 parents, ex-pupils, professionals and concerned members of the Ross-on-Wye community.
Since this meeting about Mental Health at John Kyrle High School was asked for (in August 2018), Nigel Griffiths has not engaged with any of these concerned people, through his own admittance in a letter to all parents (15th November 2018). This clear observation is summed up in a 2nd Open Letter which was sent to him.
Nigel Griffiths as a Headteacher and an Ofsted Inspector, is aware of his duty to consult with concerned parents and the community. In fact, he himself asked the community for feedback on what the school teaches and how they teach it on 14th February 2018, asking for ideas and comments. On that occasion he did this through the local newspaper, The Ross Gazette, outreaching and appealing to people for their feedback and ideas.
However when so many ask for a meeting where they can discuss how they teach at the school, he refused.
It seems this February 2018 request could likely have been a box-ticking exercise to give the illusion of engagement. This, in light of the fact that when 100s of people want to consult with the school, to give feedback, with the primary goal of improving things for those students that suffer with mental health issues, Nigel Griffiths has indeed stonewalled them.
Nigel Griffiths has not wanted or accepted to have a meeting with all these people even though it is simply to discuss: (1) What the school does around mental health that does work, (2) What the school does that doesn't work, and (3) Good ideas for what it could do - and he has been told this.
Nigel Griffiths in 2020 got paid £145,000 - £150,000 a year for his role at JKHS (plus £30,000 - £35,000 in pension contributions, plus expenses). It has been pointed out by many that his rapid and repeated year on year pay rises over the last few years put him on unusually high wages for his role in this region. These numbers are publicly available via the school's financial statements (JKHS is an academy, run as a limited company, so these reports and figures are all viewable when searching Companies House). The school appears to have two Headteachers, the second is David Boyd and he is on wages of between £100,000 - £110,000 a year in 2020.
Neither Nigel Griffiths, or David Boyd have engaged.
For the two JKHS most senior staff, who are approximately on a combined £250,000 a year between them, neither one of them has showed any willing, ability or inclination to engage in the meeting asked of them, or any logical explanation.
Trixie Clarke, John Kyrle High School SENCO and mental health lead at JKHS also has refused to talk about mental health, abruptly ending conversation or walking off when asked. There have been parents reporting their poor experiences of Trixie Clarke, and others who have been concerned have asked to speak to the headteacher and not been able to get an audience with Nigel Griffiths. When parents of children who have issues recount negative experiences where they have been left upset and feeling deeply let down, it seems the problem certainly extends over the Senior Leadership Team at JKHS, including Trixie Clarke, the John Kyrle High School SENCO.
The meeting is important, and with 10%-25% estimated suffering from mental health issues at school, this is between 150 and 375 students who could be affected. The effects of poor mental health are extremely distressing for those that suffer, and parents and carers who provide support are also affected, deserving help and support.
Any meeting where feedback can be gathered from those who have experienced mental health issues at the actual school is invaluable, and JKHS are actively shutting themselves off from it. It has also been pointed out to the school that: (1) Those who have experience of mental health issues, either as parents or pupils have a unique ability to help the school to help others, (2) That many people need the comfort of a group to attend a meeting, many might lack confidence to meet otherwise (3) Some people might just wish to listen, and (4) That all of these people are equally important and their wealth of experience and their opinions matter.
For context on wages, within 15 miles, the next closest wages for a Headteacher in an equivalent (and yet bigger) academy are £100,000 in 2017, seeing Nigel Griffiths in 2017 receiving approaching 50% more pay that year. For more on wages, click here. In that comparative academy the deputy head (equivalent to David Boyd) was on about £65,000. Professionals who have looked at the size of the SLT at John Kyrle have been taken aback at why a single academy has such a team of this size and the massive associated costs of having it.
It is not unusual to have a Headteacher and a Deputy Headteacher in a secondary school, far from it. It is however not very common in a school of approximately 1,500 pupils to have an Operational Headteacher (David Boyd) doing the tasks of a Headteacher, on wages the same as an actual official Headteacher of a larger and highly performing local school and 6th form, and to then have a Headteacher above him (Nigel Griffiths) who has passed on the operations of running the school, and yet remaining Headteacher, on wages 50% higher than his closest geographical equivalent counterpart.
Nigel Griffiths has also been made an Ofsted Ambassador, one of only 7 or 8 in the country. In the school's press releases on this it says that he will be doing 20 more working days a year for Ofsted. Many observe he is often not at JKHS at all, backed up by his seeming need to have an Operational Headteacher doing the duties of a Headteacher, even though he remains Headteacher. So this increase of 20 more days out of the school means he will be there even less. EDIT: Ofsted have confirmed that Nigel Griffiths' role of Ambassador, that he announced, was never an official title, and they said it was 5 days a year, but only for one single year, from August 2018 - September 2019. Ofsted have also confirmed, following a recent Judge's conclusions in a Court of Law, observing the behaviour of Nigel Griffiths and the school's leadership, that Nigel Griffiths is no longer an Ofsted Inspector. They say his contract ended in July 2020, (the Court convened in July 2020). Nigel Griffiths has claimed, contrary to this, that he temporarily stood down from his Ofsted work himself, on 26th November 2020 (4th November 2020 is when the Judge's verdicts which included his actions in the unfair dismissal of a teacher became public. It included the school falsifying allegations against the teacher in question, and the Court heard how Mr Griffiths had exclaimed "FIG-JAM" meaning 'F**k I'm Good Just Ask Me, when collecting any information he could use to unfairly sack the teacher in question, upon thinking he'd found something he could use against her).
It is of concern whether Nigel Griffiths gets paid for a full time position at John Kyrle High School then receives additional income from Ofsted on top of these wages, (whether directly from Ofsted or via JKHS reimbursed by Ofsted). Certainly being double paid in any way would be deeply concerning if that was the case. EDIT: as above Ofsted no longer contract Nigel Griffiths as an Ofsted Inspector.
Ofsted have been asked for clarification on how their Ambassadors are remunerated for what they do, an update will be provided here upon their response.
BBC Hereford & Worcester ran a headline news article on Mental Health Issues at JKHS which you can listen to at the bottom of this page.
So many parents are concerned about Nigel Griffiths' disregard of their wanting to meet with him, and yet, Nigel Griffiths has done nothing. The simple meeting is to be held at an independent venue, and all Nigel Griffiths and his senior staff have been asked to do is to come along and listen, and to discuss ideas on how great things can be done around mental health at the school.
In the light of Nigel Griffiths not having shown any willing to talk with parents about what he and his school does around mental health, (and being aware that Nigel Griffiths' own misinformed and badly concluded logic that there aren't mental health issues at his school, see his letter to an investigating MP), people are asking if he is actually fit to judge other schools in any role for Ofsted, particularly around any issues and performance relating to wellbeing and mental health.
"Happy, Healthy and Successful" that's how Nigel Griffiths sells John Kyrle...
Nigel Griffiths' key-method of trying to defend JKHS' record on mental health is by quoting a vague sentence in a letter that accompanied his JKHS Ofsted report mentioning his own 'mantra' (as he calls it) "Happy, Healthy & Successful", he very clearly wants people to believe that mention of this very sentence in a letter from Ofsted is enough very clear evidence of there being no real Mental Health issues at his school, and he has offered up ~happy, healthy and successful" as such in his responses about a meeting.
"Happy, Healthy & Successful" is of course not evidence of anything, it is a marketing strapline. Any conclusions Nigel Griffiths draws from it around mental health are based only on his own subjective interpretation of those three words.
"Happy, Healthy & Successful" certainly does not ring true for all those affected. When 100s of people have been coming forward with very real grave concerns and their actual experiences over how Nigel Griffiths and his school deal with mental health issues. A great many of these people claim the school exacerbates mental health problems, with parents saying they are left to pick up the pieces and ex-students saying they are still affected by their experiences at JKHS years later.
People are questioning Nigel Griffith's fitness and suitability in his roles at Ofsted to judge other schools on their performance around mental health and the associated pastoral care schools offer when he is refusing to meet with an alarming amount of concerned individuals who are not at all satisfied with how his own school addresses mental health.
A simple meeting is all that has been asked for....
People wish nothing but to give positive ideas on how things can so easily be improved around mental health at his school. This information is waiting to be heard, and best of all for JKHS, most of the suggestions that people have come forward with will cost absolutely nothing for John Kyrle High School, and as such require zero budget.
There is a wonderful potential opportunity for Nigel Griffiths to greatly and easily improve things for pupils at his school around mental health simply by listening to those with experience and their positive ideas.
Please read the News Page for lots more 'reaction'.