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EXCLUSIVE: Top teachers resign from Birkenhead's new academy school
JUST one year after Birkenhead’s academy school opened its doors, the board of governors has today accepted the resignations of its principal and vice-principal.
A statement from the board says that the pair, Steve McMahon and Sheena Shanahan, had found uniting the two schools that became the academy - Park High and Rock Ferry High - more difficult than they had expected.
They both took on their positions at the academy having been headteacher and deputy head of Park High School.
The statement says that although “a great deal has been achieved in a short space of time since the academy was set up a year ago and the improvement in student results has been impressive, our aim of achieving a fully united professional body of staff remains a key challenge.
“One of the main tasks of both the principal and vice-principal when they were appointed was to bring together the two predecessor schools and create this unity.
“Unfortunately and in spite of a lot of hard work this has proved more difficult than envisaged and so for the good of the academy and its students they have decided to step down now to allow other candidates to be appointed to ensure this critical move is successfully completed.”
The board, chaired by Birkenhead MP Frank Field, continued: “Our expectations of all of our staff will continue to increase and be challenging in the interests of our students.
“We have accepted the resignations knowing that the professionalism and dedication of the staff will ensure these goals are met this year."
Governors have appointed Helen Johnson as acting vice-principal and are about to appoint an acting principal.
They have also established a search committee to find replacements and say they will will quickly begin the recruitment process.
Permanent replacements are expected to be made in time for the Autumn term.
Parents of children who attend the academy contacted the Globe to express their concerns about the running of the school.
They claimed they have been given little information about the reasons behind Mr McMahon and Mrs Shanahan’s disappearance and had many unanswered questions.
One parent said: “It is our children who are suffering.
"We earnestly hope you can put pressure on the authorities to come to an early conclusion so our children do not suffer any more problems to their education.”
The governors said they will not be releasing any further information about the resignations.
Situated on the site of Park High School, the academy has an intake of around 1,100 students.
The facility’s lead sponsor is the University of Chester, with the University of Liverpool, Wirral Metropolitan College, Birkenhead Sixth Form College and Wirral Council as co-sponsors.
It has already experienced controversy when pupils staged a protest last April in a bid to stop what they saw as staff cuts.
Around 100 children rallied to show governors they did not want favourite teachers to lose their jobs.
Some parents supported the pupils’ arguments, with one saying Park High had “taken over.”
At the time, she said: “Now we’ve got Park High site, Park High’s old head and most of Park High’s staff.
"Why didn’t they just say at the beginning they’re going to close Rock Ferry and refurbish Park High?”