Kim Sparling quits as head of Oldfield School as critical report into the way academy is run is published

Kim Sparling

Kim Sparling

Kim Sparling, the headteacher of Oldfield School in Kelston Road, has resigned after a turbulent few months for the school.

And the findings from a two-day visit by the Education Funding Agency in March, which was prompted by concerns raised during an Ofsted inspection of the 775-pupil academy last December, have now been published.

A 32–page report concludes that the school, which became an academy three years ago and draws many students from East Bristol and South Gloucestershire, as well as from B&NES, needs to improve the way it is run and outlines what action is necessary.

Stuart Weatherall, who became chair of governors in March after the resignation of Julie Cope, who had held the position, announced that Mrs Sparling had stood down with effect from 30th April.

He said: “In the interests of the school, all associated with it and Mrs Sparling, the resignation has been accepted.

“A recruitment process will be undertaken with a view to appointing a new headteacher to lead the school forward and maintain the ‘outstanding’ Ofsted grading for the benefit of the school and its community. Matthew Woodville will continue to hold the position of acting headteacher.

“The governing body is fully committed to working to address all concerns that have been raised.

Mrs Sparling has been away from school due to sickness in recent weeks with her deputy Matthew Woodville stepping up.

Ofsted visited Oldfield last December to carry out a safeguarding inspection which was followed by a full inspection. A partial report was published, expressing concerns about the relationship between the governors and headteacher. More than 1,000 people subsequently signed a petition calling for the Department for Education to make the unpublished full report public. It was subsequently leaked on charity Fair Play’s website.

Chair of governors Stuart Weatherall

Chair of governors Stuart Weatherall

The EFA report found that governance at Oldfield was weak and there was a lack of transparency and accountability within the academy trust.

For example, the whistleblowing policy, did not, as is usual practice, have provision for staff to raise concerns about the headteacher directly with the governors or someone who is independent.

Governors told the EFA that challenge was not welcomed by Mrs Sparling and many cited examples of challenging her unsuccessfully.

An Interim Academy Board has now been established and governors have delegated all their powers and functions to the IAB until the end of August 2015 to allow it to review and revise the school’s governance and address the issues raised.

Read the EFA report at