Sherry Zand quits as principal of IES Breckland

Matthew Hancock MP with Sherry Zand the former
IES Breckland Principal
Sherry Zand the Principal of IES Breckland School in Brandon Suffolk has resigned it emerged today. This comes weeks after Zand fired six teachers at IES Breckland who had only been appointed in September.

Since the start of the school year nearly a third of the teaching staff have left IES. Things apparently got so bad at the school that Zand herself was roped in to teach English before she went on sick leave.

IES English Schools Ltd who run IES Breckland under the only profit making agreement to run a free school currently in place have moved fast to bring in their own UK Chairman and Chief Operating Officer Peter Fyles as Acting Principal.

Fyles is quoted by BrandonSuffolk.com as saying in a letter to parents that the search for a new permanent principal is already underway and that they would be looking for an experienced principal to take the school forward.

His choice of words is interesting as Zand had never been a Head or Deputy prior to her appointment at IES. It looks like they intend to ensure her replacement has more experience.

Incredibly IES are continuing to employ Zand in "a new role" within the company although they do not specify what this will be. Just imagine the comments that would be made if a local authority continued to employ the Head of a maintained school leaving in similar circumstances.

Whoever does take over at IES as Principal will have a lot of recruiting to do. No less than seven teaching vacancies are currently advertised including the Heads of Maths, English and Modern Foreign Languages.

Whilst IES have chosen to continue to employ Zand and praised her for her work setting the school up this Blog understands that the Sabres Trust that run the school had become concerned by Zand's handling of staffing issues including the dismissal of six staff within a few days. Claims were made that the Trust were unaware of the sackings until after they happened and even that staff had been dismissed for wanting to speak to Governors.

All of this is a far cry from the claims made by IES and Zand when the school was opened that hand picked teachers will create a first class school

The article goes on to stress the "tough-love approach" of IES:
“The organisation’s core beliefs include helping every child to reach their potential, while leaving none of them behind. We have a professional teacher commitment and believe in using tough-love to create a safe, calm environment where teachers can teach and students can learn.”
Almost two years ago Zand herself was quoted in the TES criticising the predecessor school (Breckland Middle School):
"I had only been in the school once before we were given the keys in August. What we saw when we were finally given the keys was mind-blowing: there were bins full of unmarked Sats papers and exam booklets that had been burned."
Say what you like about Breckland Middle at least it was able to recruit and retain teachers. The tough-love of IES appears to have come back to bite Zand.

IES are ultimately owned by a US private equity firm. Sadly Brandon children have been used by politicians such as local MP and education Minister Matthew Hancock (pictured with Zand above) as an experiment in for profit education.

Whilst I am no fan of education for profit I take no pleasure in this failure and am very sad that it is Suffollk children that are paying the price for an experiment that looks to have gone badly wrong.

Brandon children are being let down by those more interested in ideology and profit than education. Let's hope a dose of tough love is coming in the direction of the politicians and "educational investors" now and that the school is returned to local management.

IES Breckland 7839155424405867881

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