Head teacher leaves Merrill College after a vote of no confidence
A HEAD teacher has left a city secondary school after staff voted that they had no confidence in him.
Michael Whelan took over as head of Merrill College in September and was set to be principal when the school becomes an academy sponsored by Derby College on January 1.
But yesterday the Derby Telegraph revealed that more than 60 staff at a union meeting held a unanimous vote of no confidence against Mr Whelan.
Last night a spokeswoman for the school's governors confirmed that Mr Whelan was no longer at Merrill and that the former head teacher, Andy Scott, had returned.
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The spokeswoman said: "Mr Whelan is employed by Derby College and had been seconded to the school.
That secondment has now been cancelled but he is still employed by the college.
"Meanwhile Andy Scott is back as acting head teacher at Merrill."
Teachers at Merrill had threatened to go on strike and it is now unclear whether they will still be balloted for action.
Members of the National Association of Schoolteachers Union of Women Teachers are unhappy about several issues but, in particular, plans to restructure the school, which has resulted in redundancy notices being sent to 14 senior staff.
The teachers are also concerned about the failure to adequately manage pupil behaviour, staff the school adequately and manage teacher stress.
Dave Wilkinson, NASUWT branch secretary, said: "It is admirable that Derby College has acted promptly to address staff concerns about leadership at Merrill.
"However, there is still a long way to go – NASUWT requires that members' jobs are made safe and that the governing body agrees an action plan to address the other concerns of members over pupil behaviour, staffing and stress."
Merrill College, in Alvaston, has a history of poor results but in 2008 became a National Trust Challenge School and linked up with Derby College in an attempt to turn standards around.
Ian Jennision, branch secretary of the National Union of Teachers, said: "Everyone is very unhappy at the way things have deteriorated at the school this term.
"Senior management is too heavy-handed and staff have lost confidence."
Mandie Stravino, chief executive of Derby College, said bosses were hoping to meet with staff on Monday.
She said: "Following a full governing body meeting, the governors of Merrill College have taken the decision to terminate the secondment agreement with Derby College for a head teacher. This agreement was for the period from September to December. The postholder, Michael Whelan, has returned to Derby College. The Governors have requested Andy Scott act as head until the end of this calendar year.
"The governors appreciate this may be an anxious time for staff, and hope Andy's appointment as acting head will go some way to reassuring them. The Governors also reaffirm their decision to transfer to an academy from January under the sponsorship of Derby College."
Councillor Martin Rawson, cabinet member for children and young people at Derby City Council, said: "We were not aware of the meeting on Thursday evening.
"We will be liaising with Derby College."