Pleckgate: ‘Speed up probe into suspensions’

Blackburn Citizen: Pleckgate School Pleckgate School

EDUCATION officials must carryout a speedy investigation into the suspension of two senior teachers at a Blackburn school, its chairman of governors has said.

It is understood that parents are organising a petition in support of the suspended Pleckgate teachers, deputy head Nic Ford and assistant head Rob Hamilton.

Headteacher Cherry Ridgway took an extended leave of absence just a few days after the suspensions of the two members of her leadership team.

Chair of governors Aziz Hazari said he was trying to resolve their suspensions quickly with Blackburn with Darwen Council. He said the teachers had inspired a petition of support amongst parents in the area.

The Lancashire Telegraph has also received messages of support for the two teachers.

Mr Hazari said: “It’s been brought to my attention, and though it isn’t my place to be told what these suspensions are for, I hope to see a quick resolution from the council.

“Rob has been a teacher at Pleckgate for 20 years, has an impeccable record and I have known him personally for ten years.

“He is a household name in the neighbourhood. Nic has been there for four and they both have had my confidence as a parent.

“I am pushing the local authority to proceed quickly because staff and the community in general are not happy with what’s happened.” However the decision to make Mark Bradshaw acting head was a brilliant move and the school as a whole has rallied nonetheless.”

The school was placed into special measures after Ofsted found there was ‘a culture of mistrust’ at the school between governors, teachers and Ms Ridgway.

It was announced that Ms Ridgway had decided to take an extended leave of absence on Thursday, February 13. Mr Ford and Mr Hamilton had been suspended the previous Friday.

Director of Children’s Services at Blackburn with Darwen Council Linda Clegg, said: “Suspension is a neutral act until an investigation is concluded.”

Comments (24)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

1:15pm Fri 28 Feb 14

adamdesk says...

Not safe for children full stop.
Not safe for children full stop. adamdesk

3:54pm Fri 28 Feb 14

mylittleprincess says...

As a parent and speaking to other parents I know for a fact that a petition is under way. I have already signed it myself. The parents are very unhappy that these two very senior, hard working and thoroughly liked members of staff are still off work. This is not good for Pleckgate. If this is not resolved very soon I do know that the forthcoming parents meeting(date to be announced) will be overtaken and dominated by this issue !
As a parent and speaking to other parents I know for a fact that a petition is under way. I have already signed it myself. The parents are very unhappy that these two very senior, hard working and thoroughly liked members of staff are still off work. This is not good for Pleckgate. If this is not resolved very soon I do know that the forthcoming parents meeting(date to be announced) will be overtaken and dominated by this issue ! mylittleprincess

3:56pm Fri 28 Feb 14

mylittleprincess says...

....and let's not forget Mr Neilson as well....he too has the full backing of the parents and is included in the petition.
....and let's not forget Mr Neilson as well....he too has the full backing of the parents and is included in the petition. mylittleprincess

4:06pm Fri 28 Feb 14

mylittleprincess says...

I applaud the LEA in taking decisive action recently to ensure moral and stability is returned by installing Mr Bradshaw as acting Head. They now need to close this chapter and bring back the three highly respected members of staff suspended by the previous headteacher. This needs to happen very quickly.
I applaud the LEA in taking decisive action recently to ensure moral and stability is returned by installing Mr Bradshaw as acting Head. They now need to close this chapter and bring back the three highly respected members of staff suspended by the previous headteacher. This needs to happen very quickly. mylittleprincess

6:00pm Fri 28 Feb 14

Pendle Bill says...

"...suspension is a neutral act". What NONSENSE these people trot out! No matter what the official party line is, guilt is implied when someone is suspended. And what of the morale and feelings of the person(s) who are suspended? Some people NEVER recover from the terrible punishment that suspension itself is, innocence or guilt notwithstanding. Let us hope for a REALLY speedy conclusion to this matter: and I mean DAYS, not MONTHS! Get your finger out, BwD!
"...suspension is a neutral act". What NONSENSE these people trot out! No matter what the official party line is, guilt is implied when someone is suspended. And what of the morale and feelings of the person(s) who are suspended? Some people NEVER recover from the terrible punishment that suspension itself is, innocence or guilt notwithstanding. Let us hope for a REALLY speedy conclusion to this matter: and I mean DAYS, not MONTHS! Get your finger out, BwD! Pendle Bill

8:44pm Fri 28 Feb 14

Renny78 says...

Glad to see the pressure from the people of Blackburn has not stopped on this important issue - for the sake of our children's education these 4 critical members of staff, Murray, Neilson, ford and Hamilton (coincidently 3 out of the 4 were governors at the school!) to be reinstated with immediate effect - allegations made against them were frankly ridiculous and they have been subjected to intensive bullying over a period of months - this has affected their mental well being and damaged their reputation as long standing and very committed, excellent teachers and managers. The person that needs to be under a spotlight is cherry ridgway and anyone who allowed and indeed actively aided her to get away with ritual terrorisation of her hard working staff - there is no other sensible course of action than to strike her off the teaching register to ensure she is never ever allowed to get away with this again. Full stop. Blackburn with darwen you must act now in order to maintain a semblance of strength and leadership in leading schools forward for the sake of our children.
Glad to see the pressure from the people of Blackburn has not stopped on this important issue - for the sake of our children's education these 4 critical members of staff, Murray, Neilson, ford and Hamilton (coincidently 3 out of the 4 were governors at the school!) to be reinstated with immediate effect - allegations made against them were frankly ridiculous and they have been subjected to intensive bullying over a period of months - this has affected their mental well being and damaged their reputation as long standing and very committed, excellent teachers and managers. The person that needs to be under a spotlight is cherry ridgway and anyone who allowed and indeed actively aided her to get away with ritual terrorisation of her hard working staff - there is no other sensible course of action than to strike her off the teaching register to ensure she is never ever allowed to get away with this again. Full stop. Blackburn with darwen you must act now in order to maintain a semblance of strength and leadership in leading schools forward for the sake of our children. Renny78

8:59pm Fri 28 Feb 14

PowerCorruptionAndLies says...

Seeing as "certain departments" at BwD are cut from the same cloth as Ms Ridgway (and have persisently conspired to brush the far-reaching ramifications of her appointment under the rug), it will be interesting to see just how speedy any probe they undertake actually is.

With regard to Rob Hamilton, Nic Ford and Craig Neilson, I can also vouch for their excellent professional conduct and integrity - not to mention their commitment to the pupils of Pleckgate. The appalling treatment of Val Murray, another excellent teacher with the same professional standards as the three aforementioned gentlemen, should also be investigated. There are numerous other members of teaching and non-teaching Pleckgate staff who have also been treated in a diabolical fashion. Some remain at the school whilst others managed to escape. All deserve justice.

I also applaud the appointment of Mark Bradshaw as acting head and wish my former colleagues - many of them good friends - success in restoring Pleckgate High School to its former standing in the community.
Seeing as "certain departments" at BwD are cut from the same cloth as Ms Ridgway (and have persisently conspired to brush the far-reaching ramifications of her appointment under the rug), it will be interesting to see just how speedy any probe they undertake actually is. With regard to Rob Hamilton, Nic Ford and Craig Neilson, I can also vouch for their excellent professional conduct and integrity - not to mention their commitment to the pupils of Pleckgate. The appalling treatment of Val Murray, another excellent teacher with the same professional standards as the three aforementioned gentlemen, should also be investigated. There are numerous other members of teaching and non-teaching Pleckgate staff who have also been treated in a diabolical fashion. Some remain at the school whilst others managed to escape. All deserve justice. I also applaud the appointment of Mark Bradshaw as acting head and wish my former colleagues - many of them good friends - success in restoring Pleckgate High School to its former standing in the community. PowerCorruptionAndLies

9:15pm Fri 28 Feb 14

Retired Teacher says...

Is there a petition to ensure the immediate re-instatement of these four valued members of staff? If so, can the link be posted on here? Many people will want to sign it.
Is there a petition to ensure the immediate re-instatement of these four valued members of staff? If so, can the link be posted on here? Many people will want to sign it. Retired Teacher

9:20pm Fri 28 Feb 14

PowerCorruptionAndLies says...

It's a paper petition which is currently being circulated in local mosques. Maybe an electronic version could be set up so more of us can offer our support?
It's a paper petition which is currently being circulated in local mosques. Maybe an electronic version could be set up so more of us can offer our support? PowerCorruptionAndLies

9:59pm Fri 28 Feb 14

Retired Teacher says...

I've already got several past staff wanting to sign.
I've already got several past staff wanting to sign. Retired Teacher

11:14pm Fri 28 Feb 14

mylittleprincess says...

I understand the petition was deliberately set up in paper form for parents so that only they could sign and show the very real concern and upset this is causing them, not to mention the suspended staff whose own suffering has gone on long enough and must stop immediately. I am sure there is absolutely no doubt that any on line petition would attract a very significant response from parents, pupils, ex-teachers, ex-pupils etc such is the popularity, integrity and standing of the suspended members of staff. Perhaps, we should allow the parents petition a chance which I believe is on target to be handed in by next Friday. Better still.....lets have the staff back by then !!
I understand the petition was deliberately set up in paper form for parents so that only they could sign and show the very real concern and upset this is causing them, not to mention the suspended staff whose own suffering has gone on long enough and must stop immediately. I am sure there is absolutely no doubt that any on line petition would attract a very significant response from parents, pupils, ex-teachers, ex-pupils etc such is the popularity, integrity and standing of the suspended members of staff. Perhaps, we should allow the parents petition a chance which I believe is on target to be handed in by next Friday. Better still.....lets have the staff back by then !! mylittleprincess

9:19am Sat 1 Mar 14

TheRealTauheedul says...

The council has always let the people they are supposed to serve down when such things happens. There is a new trend to appoint such heads who supposedly deliver 'results' and a culture is the developed where nothing else matters. Sounds like there were many teachers that were a little too long in the tooth to fall for that and hence the situation that arose. This sort of model works at other schools as senior staff are carefully selected and then very.junior or untrained staff are recruited and moulded to accept such a model of education driven by league tables. Assessment drives practice, therefore teachers will change what they normally do well due to pressure on results. This feeds all.the way
The council has always let the people they are supposed to serve down when such things happens. There is a new trend to appoint such heads who supposedly deliver 'results' and a culture is the developed where nothing else matters. Sounds like there were many teachers that were a little too long in the tooth to fall for that and hence the situation that arose. This sort of model works at other schools as senior staff are carefully selected and then very.junior or untrained staff are recruited and moulded to accept such a model of education driven by league tables. Assessment drives practice, therefore teachers will change what they normally do well due to pressure on results. This feeds all.the way TheRealTauheedul

10:05am Sat 1 Mar 14

Sue Lee says...

Still no real apology never mind explanation of how all this was allowed to happen?
No-one inside school, town hall, MP, so-called teaching unions, taking any leadership as children suffer.
Is the headmistress dead and buried? Cost?
Watch next. Some outsiders drafted in like at the hospital to gloss over the problems.
Still no real apology never mind explanation of how all this was allowed to happen? No-one inside school, town hall, MP, so-called teaching unions, taking any leadership as children suffer. Is the headmistress dead and buried? Cost? Watch next. Some outsiders drafted in like at the hospital to gloss over the problems. Sue Lee

11:11am Sat 1 Mar 14

monopoly says...

Sue Lee wrote:
Still no real apology never mind explanation of how all this was allowed to happen?
No-one inside school, town hall, MP, so-called teaching unions, taking any leadership as children suffer.
Is the headmistress dead and buried? Cost?
Watch next. Some outsiders drafted in like at the hospital to gloss over the problems.
Couldn't agree more,my thoughts exactly. I have a child that is in year 11 and seriously worry what effect this has had on his education, as i'm sure so do lots of other parents.
[quote][p][bold]Sue Lee[/bold] wrote: Still no real apology never mind explanation of how all this was allowed to happen? No-one inside school, town hall, MP, so-called teaching unions, taking any leadership as children suffer. Is the headmistress dead and buried? Cost? Watch next. Some outsiders drafted in like at the hospital to gloss over the problems.[/p][/quote]Couldn't agree more,my thoughts exactly. I have a child that is in year 11 and seriously worry what effect this has had on his education, as i'm sure so do lots of other parents. monopoly

11:46am Sat 1 Mar 14

Pendle Bill says...

Involved people, get yourselves ORGANISED! Elect an action group, have a spokesperson, harass the LEA, the governors, the MP, the Government, whoever and whatever it takes to get this mess sorted. ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS. Get off your backsides and do something POSITIVE! Otherwise, I promise you, the powers that be will do NOTHING AT ALL and will just wait for the dust to settle on all of this.
Involved people, get yourselves ORGANISED! Elect an action group, have a spokesperson, harass the LEA, the governors, the MP, the Government, whoever and whatever it takes to get this mess sorted. ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS. Get off your backsides and do something POSITIVE! Otherwise, I promise you, the powers that be will do NOTHING AT ALL and will just wait for the dust to settle on all of this. Pendle Bill

12:01pm Sat 1 Mar 14

mylittleprincess says...

Pendle Bill - That is the next step being planned should the parents petition not have the desired effect. I say to the LEA..wake up...and sort this mess....something you should not have allowed to happen in the first place....you have been aware from a very early stage about the goings on at Pleckgate!
Pendle Bill - That is the next step being planned should the parents petition not have the desired effect. I say to the LEA..wake up...and sort this mess....something you should not have allowed to happen in the first place....you have been aware from a very early stage about the goings on at Pleckgate! mylittleprincess

12:32pm Sat 1 Mar 14

Ex teacher says...

Last Summer the LA held an enquiry into the problems at Pleckgate, This was in response to whistle blowing by some members of staff - some of whom are on the list of those presently absent from school and others including 2 long serving teachers - an ex Head of Year and an ex Head of Department who had returned as cover supervisors and whose contracts were ended last Summer.
The aforementioned enquiry presumably exonerated Ms Ridgway - surely , in the light of what has happened at Pleckgate there should be some investigation into these findings? . It also follows, that in the light of the above the LA are unlikely to act decisively !
Last Summer the LA held an enquiry into the problems at Pleckgate, This was in response to whistle blowing by some members of staff - some of whom are on the list of those presently absent from school and others including 2 long serving teachers - an ex Head of Year and an ex Head of Department who had returned as cover supervisors and whose contracts were ended last Summer. The aforementioned enquiry presumably exonerated Ms Ridgway - surely , in the light of what has happened at Pleckgate there should be some investigation into these findings? . It also follows, that in the light of the above the LA are unlikely to act decisively ! Ex teacher

12:40pm Sat 1 Mar 14

Artiefrancie says...

"Director of Children’s Services at Blackburn with Darwen Council, Linda Clegg, said: “Suspension is a neutral act until an investigation is concluded.”
The above is the quote from from the Lancashire Telegraph report 28.02.14 shown above these comments.
The suspended staff are some of the most dedicated staff at Pleckgate and are sorely missed by staff members and pupils alike.
Has an investigation started? How much time is being devoted to it?
Given that "the Headteacher agreed to take some extended personal time off" on 13th February It appears that the LA are not rushing to conclude this matter. Where are they up to with this investigation? How much say will governors be given in the matter? How and when will parents be consulted? I know that the LA are busy, I know that they are understaffed and stretched at present but........"The year 11 pupils at this school have one chance to make a success of their exams." This fiasco dragging on is in danger of affecting their results and their morale. Get the suspended staff back in. They should never have been suspended in the first place. Any investigation could have taken place whilst they were still in post. Hang on in there Pleckgate.......The LA may yet get it right!
Enough!
"Director of Children’s Services at Blackburn with Darwen Council, Linda Clegg, said: “Suspension is a neutral act until an investigation is concluded.” The above is the quote from from the Lancashire Telegraph report 28.02.14 shown above these comments. The suspended staff are some of the most dedicated staff at Pleckgate and are sorely missed by staff members and pupils alike. Has an investigation started? How much time is being devoted to it? Given that "the Headteacher agreed to take some extended personal time off" on 13th February It appears that the LA are not rushing to conclude this matter. Where are they up to with this investigation? How much say will governors be given in the matter? How and when will parents be consulted? I know that the LA are busy, I know that they are understaffed and stretched at present but........"The year 11 pupils at this school have one chance to make a success of their exams." This fiasco dragging on is in danger of affecting their results and their morale. Get the suspended staff back in. They should never have been suspended in the first place. Any investigation could have taken place whilst they were still in post. Hang on in there Pleckgate.......The LA may yet get it right! Enough! Artiefrancie

3:04pm Sat 1 Mar 14

Secondchild says...

Whilst, for the sake of the children, it is imperative that Pleckgate School restores its high teaching standards as quickly as possible one must question whether Blackburn LEA has demonstrated the willingness and ability to support them through such process. It should be remembered that Pleckgate is not the only school to have had these sort of problems in recent years and the support given to teaching staff by the LEA has been open for criticism, and in the opinion of many inadequate.
The current situation begs the question what role are the town councillors playing in this saga. Surely they should have been asking and seeking answers from the LEA as to what was going on long time ago. To my knowledge only one councillor has been prepared to put his head above the parapet and this was unfortunately in support of the now proven disastrous regime lead by Ms Ridgway. It is time that parents demand, from their councillors, a rapid resolution to all the outstanding problems including the restoration those members of staff wrongly suspended. In addition the councillors should be initiating an investigation into the fitness for purpose of the LEA. At the end of the day it is the people of Blackburn who pay for the education of their children, through taxes and rates, and they have the right to be assured that their children are receiving the best.
Whilst, for the sake of the children, it is imperative that Pleckgate School restores its high teaching standards as quickly as possible one must question whether Blackburn LEA has demonstrated the willingness and ability to support them through such process. It should be remembered that Pleckgate is not the only school to have had these sort of problems in recent years and the support given to teaching staff by the LEA has been open for criticism, and in the opinion of many inadequate. The current situation begs the question what role are the town councillors playing in this saga. Surely they should have been asking and seeking answers from the LEA as to what was going on long time ago. To my knowledge only one councillor has been prepared to put his head above the parapet and this was unfortunately in support of the now proven disastrous regime lead by Ms Ridgway. It is time that parents demand, from their councillors, a rapid resolution to all the outstanding problems including the restoration those members of staff wrongly suspended. In addition the councillors should be initiating an investigation into the fitness for purpose of the LEA. At the end of the day it is the people of Blackburn who pay for the education of their children, through taxes and rates, and they have the right to be assured that their children are receiving the best. Secondchild

5:50pm Sat 1 Mar 14

Ex teacher says...

Blackburn council promises protection to whistle blowers. That protection seems to have been sadly lacking at Pleckgate when contracts have been ended, teachers have felt pressured into leaving and suspensions/discipli
nary processes have been activated. Coincidentally it appears that those who invoked the whistle blowing policy seem to have been singled out.
Blackburn council promises protection to whistle blowers. That protection seems to have been sadly lacking at Pleckgate when contracts have been ended, teachers have felt pressured into leaving and suspensions/discipli nary processes have been activated. Coincidentally it appears that those who invoked the whistle blowing policy seem to have been singled out. Ex teacher

8:32pm Sun 2 Mar 14

monopoly says...

Does anyone know why the previous chair of goveners stepped down?
Does anyone know why the previous chair of goveners stepped down? monopoly

9:37pm Sun 2 Mar 14

Renny78 says...

I believe, from all accounts, that the long-standing governor and well respected and very effective previous Chair of Governors, Mr Valli, also fell victim to Cherry Ridgway's scheming and after he and the majority of governors raised serious concerns about her ability to lead the school forward. Whistle-blowing policy was then invoked and subsequently used against those who expressed their concerns to bully them (Summer 2013) She then put in a grievance against him and again, as with many of the others afore-mentioned, pushed him to the brink, whereby he was left with no choice but to stand down in the face of her threats and indeed, as we are led to believe, spying on his email activity. He tried very hard to protect the staff from her bullying was given no support by the LEA. It was because of his attempts to support the staff that she pushed him and was supported by BWD in doing so despite mounds of evidence that supported the reality that she was being allowed to destroy the school and its hard-working staff. The current Chair of Governors is working hard to ensure that the many, many wrongs are now righted and I wish him the best of luck - lets hope he receives more support from our local education authority than his predecessor. Our children deserve better than this. We pay the wages of those who are supposed to represent our best interests after all...
I believe, from all accounts, that the long-standing governor and well respected and very effective previous Chair of Governors, Mr Valli, also fell victim to Cherry Ridgway's scheming and after he and the majority of governors raised serious concerns about her ability to lead the school forward. Whistle-blowing policy was then invoked and subsequently used against those who expressed their concerns to bully them (Summer 2013) She then put in a grievance against him and again, as with many of the others afore-mentioned, pushed him to the brink, whereby he was left with no choice but to stand down in the face of her threats and indeed, as we are led to believe, spying on his email activity. He tried very hard to protect the staff from her bullying was given no support by the LEA. It was because of his attempts to support the staff that she pushed him and was supported by BWD in doing so despite mounds of evidence that supported the reality that she was being allowed to destroy the school and its hard-working staff. The current Chair of Governors is working hard to ensure that the many, many wrongs are now righted and I wish him the best of luck - lets hope he receives more support from our local education authority than his predecessor. Our children deserve better than this. We pay the wages of those who are supposed to represent our best interests after all... Renny78

5:16pm Mon 3 Mar 14

monopoly says...

Thankyou for that.
Thankyou for that. monopoly

6:58pm Mon 3 Mar 14

Artiefrancie says...

There seem to be two threads running on the Pleckgate saga. This is the other one started yesterday when the article announcing new governing body members was posted on line.
http://www.lancashir
etelegraph.co.uk/new
s/11047368.New_gover
nors_at_troubled_Bla
ckburn_school/?ref=m
r
There seem to be two threads running on the Pleckgate saga. This is the other one started yesterday when the article announcing new governing body members was posted on line. http://www.lancashir etelegraph.co.uk/new s/11047368.New_gover nors_at_troubled_Bla ckburn_school/?ref=m r Artiefrancie

Comments are closed on this article.

click2find

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree