Mini-cheddars head resigns from Colnbrook Primary

Jeremy Meek, the controversial head of Colnbrook Primary School, has announced that he will resign from his post at the end of the current term.

Gibraltarian opposition MP, Isobel Ellul-Hammond, met with Colnbrook headteacher Jeremy Meek and consultant Jean Pinkerton in June.

Gibraltarian opposition MP, Isobel Ellul-Hammond, met with Colnbrook headteacher Jeremy Meek and consultant Jean Pinkerton in June to learn how to turn around a failing school.

Mr Meek has held the post for just 18 months, although had acted as a caretaker head for 5 months following the suspension and subsequent resignation of Janice Brown.

He saw the school through its darkest hours when it was placed into Special Measures following a damning OFSTED inspection.  The entire board of governors was disbanded at the same time, being deemed unfit for purpose.  Supported by Slough & Eton College’s head Paul McAteer, Mr Meek drove Colnbrook Primary though a major programme of change, successfully transforming the school’s morale and standing.

Achievement of pupils improved significantly under Mr Meek’s stewardship.  It moved from the bottom of the league of primary schools in Slough in the academic year 2011/12 to joint first in 2012/13, with KS2 combined level 4 results going from 52% to 94%.  An interim report from OFSTED made clear it was satisfied with the progress made.

In June last year the school joined with Slough & Eton to form the Slough & Eton Multi Academy Trust (SEBMAT), and Mr Meek took a seat on SEBMAT’s board of trustees of SEBMAT.

However, less than a year into the role the school was hit with a media firestorm.  In February this year, under its new Healthy Eating Policy, 6 year old Riley Pearson was excluded from the school.   Mr Meek wrote to parents to complain about inaccurate media coverage of the notorious mini-cheddars incident, but insisting strict confidentiality rules prevented it from setting the record straight.

The hearing with school governors on March 3 found that the permanent exclusion was unlawful and ordered Riley’s reinstatement as soon as possible following a “reintegration” meeting. However, the decision was conditional on the family accepting a gagging order and a ban on the parents entering school buildings – and Riley’s younger brother remained excluded.

The hearing with school governors on March 3 found that the permanent exclusion was unlawful and ordered Riley’s reinstatement as soon as possible following a “reintegration” meeting. However, the decision was conditional on the family accepting a gagging order and a ban on the parents entering school buildings – and Riley’s younger brother remained excluded.

The following month Riley’s parents Tom Pearson and Natalie Marle won their appeal against their son’s “unlawful” exclusion from Colnbrook C of E, but decided to move Riley anyway in the face of punitive measures imposed by the school.  The pair, supported by Riley’s grandfather, launched a campaign for Mr Meeks and Mr McAteer to be fired, including an online petition signed by well over two hundred people.

No reason has been given for Mr Meek’s resignation so far.  The school’s website – which has been “under construction” for over six months – has not publicised the announcement yet, and this week’s school newsletter has made no mention of it.

Mr Meek told the Slough Observer that the school is in a ‘good place’ as it awaits its next OFSTED inspection.

He told the paper:

“I will miss the school, the staff and, most of all, the pupils a great deal. Together we have made strides in improving the school since the last Ofsted inspection.”

Governors will begin work on finding a replacement shortly.

 

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