THE headteacher of a troubled Tilbury primary school has resigned.
Alex Seaford quit her post at Manor School in July, just before the six weeks break and a few months after the governing board walked out following a damning audit report.
The Gazette understands a damning Ofsted report is set to be published in the coming days, following an inspection the Government watchdog carried out shortly before the summer holiday.
The school is expected to gain academy status as soon as January 2014, with at least one academy trust said to be interested in taking it under its wing.
Adrian McNeillis has been appointed interim headteacher at the Dickens Avenue school.
Thurrock Council, on announcing Mr McNeillis’ appointment, refused to give the reason for Mrs Seaford’s resignation, but it is believed she left the post due to ill health.
Stuart Redford, chairman of the school’s parent and teacher association, was unaware of Mrs Seaford’s resignation.
He said: “I’m a bit gobsmacked to be honest. I spoke to her on the last day of term and we said how we were looking forward to the next year.”
Cllr John Kent, portfolio holder for education, thanked Mrs Seaford for her “total dedication”.
He said: “I would like to thank the council staff who worked across the break to find Adrian and get him in post as quickly as we did.
“I would also like to thank Alex for her total dedication to the school over the three years she was head there and wish her well.”
The school was formed in 2011 when the infants and junior schools merged. At its last Ofsted inspection in 2009, the infant school was graded “good” by Ofsted while the junior school was deemed “satisfactory” in 2012.
In March of this year, Thurrock Council accidentally published on its website a damning audit report which laid bare the school’s financial woes.
It revealed insufficient financial controls, such as VAT receipts being completed incorrectly and contacts being tendered for inappropriately.
The council scrambled to remove the report the next day.
At a meeting a week later, the then council director for children’s services, Jo Olsson, said Mrs Seaford’s future was being reviewed.