I quit: Shock move by crisis-hit school boss

THE headteacher of a Camden secondary school immersed in a deep financial crisis has quit his job

Ben McPartland

THE headteacher of a Camden secondary school immersed in a deep financial crisis has quit his job.

Richard Tanton has announced he is leaving William Ellis comprehensive school to "pursue new career opportunities".

He had been signed off on sick leave from the school in Highgate Road for the last few weeks.

The boys' school is currently facing major cash difficulties as it tries to pay off a budget deficit of £500,000.

In an emergency meeting to discuss Mr Tanton's position, governors agreed it was in the school's interests to accept his resignation with immediate effect.

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Head of governors, Vernon King, said: "The governing body thanks Richard for his contribution to the development of the school and wishes him every success in his future career.

"We will take the lead in this and will keep parents informed of all significant developments at the school."

The specialist music college was plunged into financial crisis when a former bursar made a huge error with the budget.

Believing its expensive heating system had already been paid for, the bursar encouraged departments to spend more money before realising his blunder.

In a bid to ease the debts, bosses have had to axe teachers and cut the number of pupils in classes.

Mr King said: "It is my expectation that the school will maintain the momentum and confidence which underpinned its past development, address the budget repayment and, as an end result, be a more inclusive school with a strongly developed sense of purpose, challenging all pupils to give their best.

"Most importantly, we want William Ellis to be a school where - whatever the circumstances - every boy enjoys his learning, wants to attend and find success.

"We are confident that with the ongoing support and involvement of parents the school will continue to thrive and the attainment and welfare of pupils will remain central to its work.

"The staff are committed to delivering a quality experience for all pupils, built around high standards of teaching and learning."

Mr Tanton was not available for comment. He is believed to be in Cuba on holiday.

His deputy Malcolm Rose has been appointed acting headteacher until a permanent replacement can be found.

Kevin Courtney, branch secretary of the Camden's National Union of Teachers, said the council needed to ease the financial burden on William Ellis.

"The local authority now needs to help the school and the new headteacher will need support and they should not be required to pay back that money in just two years," he said.

Camden Council did not wish to comment.