Head teacher quits amid discontent.jpg

Head teacher quits amid discontent


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FOLLOWING SEVERAL months of turmoil and discontent at the Eastern Algarve International School (EAST) in Tavira, head teacher Terence Payne has handed in his resignation and intends to step down at the end of the spring term.

He has said that the lack of support from parents and staff and the effect of the working hours on his mental and physical health are the reasons for leaving.

In his letter of resignation, he also wrote: “If my stepping down unifies EAST, I am prepared to do that for the sake of the school, parents and staff.”

EAST opened in 2006 after Mr Payne spent two years spearheading the project. Prior to this he was the Director of Music at St Julian’s School in Lisbon.

There were high hopes for the progressive curriculum and he told The Resident in July that year: “My aim is to make this the best school in Portugal” (see Resident, July 14, 2006 edition).

According to members of the board and parents, a recent OFSTED school survey was positive, particularly regarding the school, staff and teaching.

In an email to The Resident, addressed to parents and members of the board, Nigel Bright said: “Against such positive and encouraging results, it is therefore difficult to understand why there have been calls for the Director to resign.”

He added: “The Director is clearly achieving his stated objectives” and calls for his resignation could “place the fragile existence of the school at more risk”.

Smooth handover

Mark Fox, whose child is a pupil at the school, said: “We arrived in September with an open mind regarding Terry and the school.” But he added they were shocked by his actions at every level of his operational duty, “apart from staff appointments”.

He added that the school is united and said the reason parents called for his resignation was the danger that staff would leave “if Terry stayed in his position”.

Mr Payne said: “We shall all wish this transition to be as smooth as possible in the handover of the countless items in process at this stage, including the licensing of the school” and he told The Resident: “At this point I have nothing more to say than in the letter of resignation”.

The Board of Directors is now expected to appoint a successor and if a suitable candidate is not found in time, an acting head teacher could be appointed to oversee the role.

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