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Suspended head still not reinstated six months later

The principal of a Co Antrim school remains suspended — six months after being removed from her post, it can be revealed today.

The Belfast Telegraph revealed in March that the head of Crumlin Integrated College, Dr Annabel Scott, had been removed from the school following the publication of a hard-hitting Education and Training Inspectorate (ETI) report.

Poor teaching standards, exam results below the Northern Ireland average, inadequate special needs provision, serious shortcomings in pastoral care and major deficiencies in management were all uncovered during an inspection at the school in January.

It also emerged that the school was set to be £170,000 in the red at the end of the financial year.

Crumlin IC was put into the Department of Education’s formal intervention process which meant it had to submit an action plan and would be closely monitored by the department over a 12 to 18-month period.

Another teacher deemed “unsatisfactory” by the inspectors was allowed to remain at the school and is being given support by the board of governors and education board.

Two additional members have since been appointed to the board of governors at the school.

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The North Eastern Education and Library Board (NEELB) said in March that Dr Scott would be “given the opportunity to undertake a programme of training and support outside the school”. Following this, she was expected to return to the school.

Dennis Harvey, principal of Monkstown Community School, was appointed temporary principal with Monkstown's vice-principal Raymond Leeman replacing him during this time.

When we asked NEELB for an update on the principal and the school’s financial position, a board spokesman said: “The acting principal in Crumlin Integrated College, Dennis Harvey, is continuing in post for the time-being.

“There is no change in the financial position though plans are in place to try to contain spending.”

He confirmed that Dr Scott remained suspended. The inspection report said responses from teaching and support staff to a confidential questionnaire pointed to “strained working relationships within the school which are having a detrimental effect on its management and organisation, and on the development of the school's pastoral and curricular provision”.

It went on to say: “Many pupils lack confidence, are not sufficiently focused on their work and make insufficient progress both academically and in their personal and social development.”

The report added: “The school is characterised by poor working relationships, lack of mutual support, and low morale, all of which are having a detrimental effect on the pupils' learning.”

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