Headteacher to leave crisis school Rudolf Steiner - handing in his notice after just four months

Rudolf Steiner School ENGPNL00320130312133708

The first-ever headteacher of a £9,250-a-year private school has resigned – after just four months in the job.

Tim Byford took up the role at Rudolf Steiner School, in Kings Langley, in September.

His arrival was part of a radical overhaul, after the government threatened to shut down the school permanently.

The school is still appealing against that threat, and if it does not succeed the school could close down after April.

Mr Byford was unanavailable for comment, but a school spokesman said: “The current post holder was hired as interim principal.

“He is due to retire and will leave once the new principal is in place.

“The new principal will lead the school over the coming years and will ensure great outcomes for pupils at the school.”

The Gazette understands that Mr Byford handed in his notice in January.

When the school announced his original appointment to the press there was no indication that he was being appointed on an interim basis, while parents have told the Gazette that they expected him to be in the role for at least 12-18 months.

The position has been advertised to begin “as soon as possible”.

Before Mr Byford’s arrival the school had no head, and was instead lead by a “non-hierarchical” college of teachers.

His replacement will earn between £60-75,000 a year.

>Background

The problems at Rudolf Steiner School date back to March 2016, when the School Inspection Service made an emergency inspection following complaints from a number of parents.

They then made a second emergency inspection three months later, and after a further complaint Ofsted was parachuted in by the Department for Education that November.

It is unusual for any private school to be visited by Ofsted, but when they did they branded the school ‘Inadequate’, and said it had ‘serious weaknesses’.

By March 2017 the crisis had worsened, and the school received a letter from the government telling them they could admit no more students until further notice.

This put the school in danger of closing.

School chiefs said that they were “surprised and disappointed” by the move.

Then in June Ofsted published its report following the inspection, and accused Rudolf Steiner of “misrepresenting” its failings to parents.

And in August the Secretary of State for Education said she intended to remove Rudolf Steiner School from the Register of Independent Schools. The school appealed against the decision and the result, which could seal the fate of the school, is expected in April.

The school responded with a radical overhaul of its entire governance, which included appointing its first-ever headteacher and an all-new council of trustees.

Ofsted are understood to have inspected the school again last week.

If you are a parent whose child is at Rudolf Steiner let us know your views. Email thegazette@jpress.co.uk

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