Report into headteacher affairs to remain secret?
An in-depth investigation into the regime of the former headteacher of the Isles of Scilly's only school is likely to remain a closely guarded secret, despite the controversy it provoked.
The revelation comes as the audit, ordered in the wake of the suspension of former Five Islands headteacher Bryce Wilby, was confirmed as being delayed – with no publication date on the horizon.
It has also emerged that the chief protagonist has still not been interviewed.
The suspension of Mr Wilby ruptured the peace of the island and led to accusations that the council was using the issue as a smokescreen to prevent the school leaving local authority control.
Free DT333 System Phone with all New NCP Panasonic Business...View details
Make Sure Your Business In Cornwall Chooses The Correct Business Telephone System At The Most Competitive Price.
Approved Panasonic Telecommunications Installer.
Terms: Terms: Please Quote This Genuine Offer When Booking An Appointment With Your Telecommunication Engineer. We Also Offer A Demonstration Of The Proposed System Please Ask For This Free Service
Contact: 01726 213808
Valid until: Monday, March 31 2014
One islander, who asked not to be named, said complete openness was the only way forward.
"The council has maintained throughout this deeply controversial and divisive process that their report would vindicate their heavy-handed suspension of Mr Wilby, so it is disappointing, if not at all surprising, that yet again secrecy seems to be the order of the day.
"Islanders are a patient and resilient bunch, but the mood on the street is changing and the council seem determined to put themselves on the wrong side of history by sticking to their old habits of secrecy and closed doors.
"The report must be seen by the governors and it must be scrutinised by all councillors before being released to members of the press and public.
"There can be no excuses for keeping it secret. People will simply be forced to ask yet again, what have our council got to hide?"
Mr Wilby was suspended from his post on May 18 over alleged financial irregularities. An interim "feedback" document compiled by Gary Walton, business audit manager for Cornwall Council's corporate fraud department, was delivered at the end of June.
The document, leaked to the Western Morning News, raised a number of issues around the financial management of the school and use of equipment owned by the school.
At the same time, Mr Wilby's leadership was subject to scrutiny from an independent education expert brought in after it was revealed a majority of staff had signed an unprecedented vote of no confidence on their head teacher.
Peter Lawrence-Roberts, director of finance at the Council of the Isles of Scilly, said it was not customary to publish investigations of this nature.
"It would not be normal to put such a report in the public domain," he said.
"This is not routinely done with audit reports."
However, he added: "If any of the report were to be made public then clearly personal information would be redacted."
Mr Lawrence-Roberts said once completed, the audit would be presented to him and to the school's chairman of governors, Ben Julian. The delays were unavoidable, he said.
"It was considered appropriate to interview the staff who are allegedly involved in some of the issues contained in the report. This includes the previous headteacher," he explained.
"All staff have a right to put their case and to answer any questions raised about their actions.
"Given that it is the school holidays and not everyone is available, this has taken a little while to organise."
Mr Lawrence-Roberts confirmed that Mr Wilby, who no longer lives on the islands, had not yet been interviewed, adding: "The audit team are currently trying to facilitate this."