Parents protest at Jersey girls’ school

  • 9th January 2023

Image from Beaulieu’s Facebook page

The headmaster of an independent Catholic Girl’s school in Jersey is stepping down “with immediate effect” following a backlash from parents to management changes at the school, ITVx has reported.

Chris Beirne is leaving as head of Beaulieu Convent Catholic School following a controversial restructuring of the school’s senior management team, which saw Andrea Firby, who was in charge of the secondary school, leave.

Deputy head Paul Robinson has been appointed as acting head.

Nearly 1,000 people have signed a petition protesting against the management changes and calling for Firby to be reinstated.

Beaulieu’s trustees said Firby had taken voluntary redundancy, with a new headteacher being appointed combining Beirne and Firby’s roles. The trustees stated: “The new headteacher will have overall charge of the executive leadership team for both primary and secondary. The new headteacher will not be a member of the board, in the same way, Mr Beirne has been, or be asked to hold any fiscal responsibility or liability for the school.”

In a letter to parents the trustees said they have “every continued confidence” in Beirne who will remain an executive director at the school until he retires next year. The letter said: “We would like to reassure all staff and parents that all management decisions taken at the school have been done so collectively by the Board of Directors and that in relation to recent events with the endorsement and agreement of the Board of Trustees.

“As Chair of the Board of Trustees, I would like to confirm that we have every continued confidence in Mr Beirne, as he transitions into an Executive Director role for the remainder of his time with the School, and in our Chief Operating Officer, Mrs Davidson-Coleshill.”

The parents responded with a statement: “As a group, we have serious and multi-faceted concerns around the management of Beaulieu School. These concerns span across financial management, the behaviour of Executive Leaders, transparency, communication, staff attrition and turnover, culture, and most importantly the delivery of a nurturing and quality education for our children.

“The management [has] shown very little desire to work with parents to ease our growing anxieties and there have been frequent contradictions within their communications. Despite denial by the School, it is known that there are worrying levels of attrition and staff turnover, confirmed by the Teachers’ Union. This is coupled with the resignation of a number of trustees over the last 6 months.”

A meeting is being held on 26 January to attempt to address the concerns.

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