Parents start petition calling for St Ives school governor re-election

Headteacher Mark Patterson,

Headteacher Mark Patterson, - Credit: Archant

Parents have started a petition to call for an election of St Ivo governors following the sudden departure of headteacher Mark Patterson.

The St Ives School announced three weeks ago that Mr Patterson, who joined last September, had left.

However, the decision has never been explained, causing some parents to feel they are being kept in the dark and are facing a wall of silence from the governors.

A Facebook group – Bring back Mr Patterson or give us some answers – has continued its campaign for St Ivo to break the silence and has now started a petition to call for the governors to stand down or seek re-election.

Adrian Smith, who started the group, said: “We want to demonstrate formally because of what has happened, because of the handling of the original decision and the mishandling of the situation since.

“Parents have lost confidence in the governors that have put the school in a catch 22 position. We can’t recruit a headteacher of the quality the school needs and deserves with the current governors.

“It’s not just about the numbers – even though we had about 100 signatures in the first day the petition went live – it’s about signalling our intention, and showing a very clear message that we are unhappy with their management.”

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He also told The Hunts Post that he was concerned Ivo staff were not allowed to talk publicly about the decision.

“I’ve had calls from staff, who haven’t left their name, to say they support us, but as they work at the school, they are afraid to put their head above the parapet,” he said.

“We are also going down official channels – we are working with Ofsted and have written to the Department for Education, the secretary of state and Jonathan Djanogly, Huntingdon MP.”

Mr Smith said he also met three governors last week as part of the school’s formal complaints process.

He added he still wants to hold a meeting for parents, but says he has been denied access to the St Ivo’s parent mail or the school hall as a venue.

Mr Patterson, who joined St Ivo from Chesterton Community College, was praised by Ofsted inspectors after visiting the school earlier this year despite saying the school needs to improve students’ achievement and the quality of staff.

They said: “Dynamic leadership from the headteacher, ably supported by good governance and senior leaders, has reversed the decline in achievement very successfully.”

Martin McGarry has stepped up as acting headteacher while the school looks to appoint a replacement.

St Ivo School declined to comment while Sue Campbell, chairman of governors, was also not able to be reached by the time The Hunts Post went to press.

To sign the petition go to and search “St Ivo governors”.