Five Islands School head Bryce Wilby inquiry reports
AN INVESTIGATION into the suspension of former Five Islands School head Bryce Wilby over alleged financial irregularities has concluded both the islands' council and the governing body erred in their handling of the case.
Last autumn the Department for Education investigated complaints against both the council and the governors and has now reported that procedures were not followed.
Mr Wilby was suspended and subsequently resigned.
The council responded to the findings by claiming the report recognised the difficulties it had faced at the time and the department had required no action or enforcement.
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However, it was later alleged the severity of the breach had been played down, with a local radio station claiming the department had told it: "We are clear that both the school and the council have broken the law. We have written to them setting out our findings and await their responses as to how they will make sure this will not happen again."
They would not hesitate to take action "if the necessary improvements are not made".
The report is believed to call for the school to move towards academy status.
Chairman of governors Ben Julian said they "broadly accepted" the DfE's recommendations and the finding that the governing body did not discharge some of its duties, but did not wish "to divert their energies" into a point-by-point rebuttal.
They were working with inspectors, Ofsted, the diocese of Truro, the council, DfE "and excellent mainland practitioners ... to identify the strengths and weaknesses of the school and its governance".
In response to previous observations the governors had reconstituted their composition, appointed a new head and would now be looking " properly and thoroughly" at school organisation.
Options to be considered included retention of the status quo, embracing academy status or co-operative models with links to the mainland.
Despite "unprecedented challenges and change" the school continued to outperform most mainland schools, he said.
The council said that in a private letter to the interim chief executive, "the Minister concluded that, although the authority made some errors in dealing with procedures, no action or enforcement by the department was required".