Future Academies appoints ex-Harris head as CEO

Ex-Harris Tottenham head Lawrence Foley will lead the trust launched by ex-minister Lord Nash, which faced staff and student walkouts last year

Ex-Harris Tottenham head Lawrence Foley will lead the trust launched by ex-minister Lord Nash, which faced staff and student walkouts last year

23 Dec 2022, 5:00

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A trust launched by ex-academies minister Lord Nash has appointed former Harris Federation headteacher Lawrence Foley as its chief executive.

Future Academies, which saw a row over racism and strict policies at its Pimlico Academy hit the headlines last year, confirmed Dr Foley would rejoin the trust next month.

He had served as the 10-school trust’s director of education until 2018, and started his career in the profession at Pimlico Academy over a decade ago.

Foley himself was also involved in a race row last year as executive principal of Harris Academy Tottenham.

A former teacher launched a petition to remove him, and alleged “institutional racism” against black staff and students. Joshua Adusei was subsequently dismissed following a prior misconduct probe.

A Harris spokesperson said at the time its leadership “categorically denies” racism and all allegations made, with a previous audit of behaviour policies finding no discrimination.

They also spoke out over the “pile-on of the mob on social media”, warning it “jeopardised” leaders’ safety and wellbeing.

It came not long after similar unrest at Future’s Pimlico Academy, whose then-principal also faced a petition to quit amid staff and student walkouts.

A Future Academies spokesperson stated then it made “no apology for taking a disciplined approach”, but highlighted a new race and equality committee and re-write of its PSHE curriculum.

Former Pimlico Academy head Daniel Smith resigned last year, and Future Academies confirmed earlier this year its CEO Paul Smith would be leaving too to join The White Horse Federation.

Ofsted downgraded Pimlico Academy from ‘outstanding’ to ‘good’ last December, but said leaders had “won back the hearts and minds” of students and staff.

Foley has previously said representation is the most powerful way to overcome parental scepticism about education. He is reported to have taken steps to boost teacher recruitment from working-class backgrounds.

Foley also led Harris Science Academy East London after the troubled free school, previously known as the East London Science School and well-known for its political connections, joined England’s sixth largest trust.

A letter to parents and carers from Lord and Lady Nash said Foley had achieved “outstanding results”, and his name would be “familiar” to many parents given his previous trust roles.

“Lawrence brings with him a wealth of experience not only in school improvement but also in the fundamentals of creating and delivering a world-class curriculum.”

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