Personal Opinion of Founder
Since closure we have been active examining and challenging the current directors of the DNS Trust. For legal reasons I cannot detail the substantial body of evidence that I wished to make public. So far this has been resisted for nearly year by the current Directors.
I am able to offer some factual information that many may not be aware of:
1. When we set about opening the school there was substantial resistence and this continued throughout. Oftsed have refused to provide the evidence for their judgements even after we provided counter evidence. Statistics for small schools can be mathematically unsafe, but having achieved outstanding phonics and good mathematics results the school received unfair and unsound criticism, even without mitigation and policy challenges.
When Mrs Snowdon and I were suspended by Mr Cook et al, it was for alleged gross misconduct. All gross misconduct allegations that were made were challenged with evidence ,that governors already had in their possession, and these charges were eventually dropped. Stretching over several months and including criminal allegations, this felt like a witch hunt. Mrs Snowdon eventually accepted a payment in July from the Trust when they failed to present any evidence prior to an Employment Tribunal. We continue to receive legal threats (using government derived funds meant for running a school) from the current Directors. Our requests for specific documents and evidence relating to the conduct of Directors that we believe should be in the public domain continue to be resisted.
In the meetings with the DfE, Cook, Eteach and others it is well documented that Mrs Snowdon had proposed that she step into a new role and that this was the agreed strategy. Well before inspection we had made representations to a special adviser and others regarding Ofsted and policy discrepancies. Our actions required the same well researched and evidenced responses that had successfully challenged two funding mistakes by government in the previous 18m. These and other mistakes had caused much disruption, pressure and change for the school. In September Oftsed had given us leave to clarify policy with the DfE regarding the Statement of Action as there were differences between the DfE and Ofsted that we had exposed.
When I whistle blew regarding the conduct of Mr Cook, it was because I had absolutely no legal option having spoken to him and followed mandatory procedures. Mrs Snowdon, the first Free School HT to be dismissed had no union support and was not allowed to call her chosen witness at her hearing and was dismissed by a panel of one, Mr Beard, in contravention of DNS procedures that recommend a panel of experienced and trained governors.
Founder from concept in 2009, Trust creator, proposer in 2010
and former Business Director.