The former head teacher of a Druids Heath school has been banned from teaching by the profession’s regulatory body.
A Teaching Regulation Agency (TRA) panel report advised that Thomas Marshall, 50, should be prohibited from teaching as some of his actions – particularly in hiring his mother’s company as an educational consultant and failing to follow recruitment procedures – could be considered “unacceptable professional conduct and conduct that may bring the profession into disrepute”.
Mr Marshall was appointed as head at Baverstock Foundation School in Bells Lane in 2010, overseeing the school’s conversion to academy in 2013.
Baverstock Academy, headed by Mr Marshall, was featured in a BBC Panorama documentary in June 2014. The programme examined the school’s efforts to give disruptive pupils their best chance in education, going above and beyond to keep them in mainstream school, with a pledge that they would achieve five GCSEs.
However, the academy was placed in special measures just a few months after the documentary was aired.
Mr Marshall remained headteacher until 2015. Baverstock Academy eventually closed in 2017, despite a very active campaign by local residents to keep it open.
— Momentum South Bham (@MomentumSBham) 30 January 2017
An investigation by West Midlands Police into accusations of fraud at the school was concluded in October 2017, with no charges being brought.
A TRA hearing had been called to consider Mr Marshall’s actions while head teacher at Baverstock. This included employing his mother’s company, Stone Educational Consultants to improve Mathematics at the school.
The panel found that Marshall had employed the company without following the tendering process. He also failed to declare his connection to the company, despite having plenty of opportunity to do so, and there was no service level agreement or contract on file at the school.
He also secured and paid for the services of another company, Noel Baker Print and IT Services, without a tendering process and with no service level agreement or contract.
The hearing panel also found that: “Mr Marshall’s personal involvement in the recruitment process of his brother into a salaried role within the school was sufficiently serious to amount to unacceptable professional conduct.”
Considering the findings, the panel report said that Mr Marshall’s “overall lack of insight and remorse” was taken into consideration when reaching a decision.
Finding him guilty of unacceptable professional conduct and conduct that may bring the profession into disrepute, the panel recommended Marshall be banned from teaching indefinitely.
On the decision, Cllr Mike Leddy (Lab, Brandwood & Kings Heath) said: “The man contributed not only to the failure of Baverstock School, but also ruined the ambitions of many of his pupils, by his actions”.
The ban was endorsed by a representative of the Secretary of State for Education on 22 February 2019. Mr Marshall has 28 days in which to appeal the decision and will be eligible to have his case reviewed in March 2021.