Leamington secondary school Trinity’s future is now more secure, says board

Trinity Catholic School in Leamington
Trinity Catholic School in Leamington

Trinity Catholic School’s interim executive board (IEB) says the school’s future is now more secure, compared to a year ago when it was, in their words, “massively in debt, significantly over-spending, and with little or no chance of long term survival”.

The IEB made the comments to defend its new approach to the Leamington school, amid the ongoing concerns of pupils and parents.

A letter sent out at the end of term to the school’s ‘community’ from IEB chairman Clive Sentance responds to those who have protested against what they see as a changing of the school’s ethos - particularly in a change that will mean that pupils will no longer address members of staff by their first names and instead refer to them by their titles and surnames.

Addressing the financial issues, which once threatened the future of its sixth form, Mr Sentance said that “clear assurances” have been given from the

Archdiocese that it has no intention to close or move the school at this point in time.

Mr Sentance said: “The uncomfortable truth is simply this - the IEB has had to deal with some very significant failings of the previous head and certain governors.

“These are not just the serious financial issues we have inherited.

“A number of other time-consuming matters have come to our attention and we have been obliged to deal with them, whilst also keeping them confidential.

“I do understand that it is difficult for parents who are not in possession of all the information that has now come to light, but much of that information is legally privileged and therefore not possible for me to share at the moment even though doing so would bring a good deal of clarity.

“It is a tribute to the work of the staff and current leadership team at the school that despite all these past failings, Trinity still does have a future.

“A year ago the school was massively in debt, significantly over-spending, and with little or no chance of long term survival.

“That is not the case today.”

The school’s former headmaster Chris Gabbett and governing board were replaced by The Regional Schools Commissioner (RSC) Christine Quinn in September last year with the IEB only supposed to be in place for about 12 months.

But Mr Sentance has said that, due to the nature of what it has had to do “behind the scenes”, the IEB will now be in place for another year.

He said: “We are grateful for and acknowledge the passionate support that there is for the school, and we understand that some of the truths now emerging about the finances and other aspects of the school have not been easy to hear.”

In relation to the issue of about what some parents call a ‘change in ethos’, Mr Sentance added: “I do acknowledge that some parents disagree with the decision of the school’s leadership team to change the convention around how staff are addressed.

“I accept that for most, this is from the best of motives and a reflection of good experiences of the school.

“At the heart of the Trinity School ethos are excellent relationships in school, and I am sure you will agree that these have to be professional, warm and safe.

“The leadership have outlined a range of reasons why they have made this change, including strengthening our reputation amongst those not currently in the Trinity community and the need to ensure that the boundaries between staff and students are maintained at all times in line with best professional safeguarding practice.

“That is why the IEB fully support the leadership team in this decision.”