The situation at Sydney’s exclusive
Ascham private school for girls gets odder and odder. Not only has the
existing board led by chairman, Justice Margaret Stone of the Federal
Court, dug itself in and appointed that well-known firm of spin
doctors, Jackson Wells Morris, but the Concerned Parents group has
briefed a leading Sydney barrister to pursue its complaints against the
News of QC Bruce McClintock’s new brief in today’s Sydney Morning Herald (‘Ascham brawl headed for courts‘)
represents a significant escalation in the situation as the board and
Justice Stone continue to say one thing (complain about press leaks and
people talking to the media) and do another (talk to the press, send
out press releases).
The decision to appoint Jackson Wells
Morris is a surprising financial commitment that would be at odds with
the feelings of most parents. Around 600 to 800 parents are receiving
emails and other information from the Concerned Parents group. There
are about 900 students at Ascham from Kindy to Year 12.
Wells Morris handled the surprise press release sent to The Daily
Telegraph on Tuesday night which revealed that former headmistress,
Susan Preedy, would not be taken back and reinstated, a decision that
again upset the majority of parents involved in the Concerned Parents
group. It’s a long way from spruiking for NRMA, Tenix in the defence
industry and the WA canal project for the firm. Grahame Morris, one of
the principals, used to work for the prime minister, so the Ascham
contract will take him back into the seat of Wentworth.
the school’s annual cocktail party for the Hillingdon pre-school at
Ascham is likely to be a tense affair. Usually it’s one of the
highlights of the school year for parents, but Friday night’s affair is
likely to be strained given that shock announcement from the council,
via Jackson Wells, the failure of the council to explain its actions to
parents, and the move to introduce a legal element into a story that’s
rapidly heading towards an explosion.