The brawl at the exclusive Ascham School for girls in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs has deepened with the school’s council rejecting an offer by former head, Susan Preedy to withdraw her resignation.
The news of the school’s ultimatum came, apparently, in a statement faxed to The Daily Telegraph. The paper reported today in a story on Page 15 (not online) that “head goes but body will stay”.
“Ascham School’s embattled governing body announced last night that the parents’ choice for principal, Susan Preedy, would not be reinstated and had left the country”.
That statement, send to The Tele, apparently by the chairman of the governing council, Justice Margaret Stone of the Federal Council, however, is not on the school’s website where three other statement were posted Monday.
They were attempts to defuse the situation and take the steam out of a protest meeting of 600 parents on Monday night which signed petition and carried motions calling for Miss Preedy’s reinstatement and also declaring no confidence in the council.
Central to those announcements was the news that former head, Mrs Rowena Danziger would not be brought back as interim head to fill in for Miss Preedy, a situation that sparked much of the parent protests.
Monday night’s meeting was chaired by former NSW Chief Justice, Sir Laurence Street. Parents say an attempt was made on Monday to get Sir Laurence to call off the meeting but he rejected that attempt.
In an email to parents on the weekend Justice Stone expressed regret and distress at unknown people who were telling the press things before the School could make official communications.
If that was her view, why then was the statement faxed to The Tele in the name of the school, before parents had been informed. It seems like a case of Justice Stone and the school saying one thing, and then doing something else.
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This latest attempt to ‘impose’ a solution on the school’s parents (some 800 are on an email mailing list, with 600 of those active and the school has around 900 students) will rekindle fears that even though Mrs Danziger has gone, there are still elements who will undo the changes introduced by Miss Preedy last year.
Sydney investment banker, Jeff Hall meanwhile has forced Ascham to release its register of governance to parents. Hall asked last week to see the school’s books (it has an annual income of around $18 million). The company secretary of Ascham School Ltd is said to have refused under instructions from the chairman, Justice Stone.
The Daily Telegraph, said Mr Hall complained to ASIC about the refusal. Ascham has now agreed to release the books, but the paper says ASIC will examine the claimed breach.