Educating Greater Manchester head Drew Povey resigns

Drew Povey, the headteacher featured in the hit TV series Educating Greater Manchester, has resigned from his post at Harrop Fold School.

In a letter to the school’s governing body published on his Twitter account, Povey referred to a “heavy handed” approach from the council, which he claimed has “completely ignored the best interests of the students, staff and school”.

He also revealed that he has been accused of deliberately “off-rolling” students and coding attendance incorrectly, and deliberately encouraging parents to home school “difficult” children.

“As the leader of Harrop, I will always take full responsibility for what happens in school and for the work of the team,” he wrote.

“However, my overall feeling is that Salford City Council are determined to pursue me personally, with the end goal of removing me as executive head.”

Povey and three other members of staff were suspended from the school in July, but no reason was given for their removal.

At the time, Lisa Stone, lead member for children’s and young people’s services at Salford council, told the Manchester Evening News that the matter was “being dealt with according to the school and council’s procedures”.

“We cannot comment further but the council is supporting the school to provide stability until the end of the academic year.

“Our priority is the students and we will support the school to make sure their educational needs are met so they can achieve the best possible outcomes,” she told reporters.

In the letter released today, Povey said it had been suggested that he should “resign and accept a financial settlement to “walk away””.

“Any such settlement would inevitably require me to agree to various confidentiality undertakings – otherwise known as “gagging clauses”,” he wrote.

“Given the money the council is clearly prepared to offer me to walk away – not to mention the vast expense that is being incurred in dealing with the ongoing investigation and the additional staff brought in to provide cover at the school -I would urge you to ask the council to look again at the position it has adopted.”

Povey added that the problems identified at the school were “administrative errors, involving only a tiny percentage of our school cohort”.

“I do not believe they constitute grounds for me to be pursued in the way that I have been, with what appears to be a complete disregard for the damage caused to the school, its pupils, the local community and the governing body.

“This feels very much like a personal vendetta and I hope that by removing myself from the situation, that some semblance of normality will return to the school, for the benefit of all,” he said.

Harrop Fold is a mixed community secondary school in Salford and was rated ‘good’ in its most recent Ofsted inspection, which was carried out five years ago in September 2013.

It has a Progress 8 score of -0.37, which is below average, but over 66 per cent of its pupils have been eligible for free school meals at some point during the past six years – more than double the proportion nationally. The school also teaches high numbers of pupils whose first language is not English.

The school came to fame in 2017 as the setting for Channel 4 fly-on-the-wall documentary Educating Greater Manchester.

Povey first joined its ranks as a young teacher in 2006 and had taken his place at the helm by 2010. When he took over Harrop Fold it was £3.2 million in debt, according to a report from the M.E.N., but in the following years this was cut down to £1.5 million.

Povey contributed personally to reduce the deficit, donating money to the school which he had earned from giving talks and from the sale of his book, ‘Educating Drew’, which describes his own experience of school as an unruly child.