Head of school at centre of Rotherham teen suicide investigation did not speak to review

Wickersley School in Rotherham which ahas been critiscised after a spate of copycat suicides'Picture Dean Atkins
Wickersley School in Rotherham which ahas been critiscised after a spate of copycat suicides'Picture Dean Atkins
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The headteacher of a school at the centre of an investigation into teenage suicides in Rotherham refused to be interviewed for an independent report, it has been revealed.

The school was not named in the report but is known to be Wickersley School and Sports College, an academy with more than 2,000 pupils whose executive headteacher is David Hudson.

It follows criticism of the school’s response to the suicides of Truman Edley and Oliver King by their bereaved parents last year, as well as similar concerns being raised in the new report commissioned by Rotherham Council.

Dr Elaine Church and Dr Tony Ryan, authors of the independent review, said: “The headteacher of School A and chair of board of governors declined to take part following two letters of invitation and offer by interviewers of increased flexibility with regards to venue and time to suit their needs.”


Action promised after teenage suicide tragedies in Rotherham

Mr Hudson was not available for comment when the school was contacted by The Star.

The findings of the review are to be discussed by Rotherham Council’s Health and Wellbeing Board next week – with a decision due to be taken on whether to write to Minister of Health Jeremy Hunt and Minister of Education Nicky Morgan regarding the issue of the school ‘failing to engage in the multi-agency response’.

The report added: “This has implications for other school academies that do not engage in incidents that require a co-ordinated strategic response.”

It said the school’s academy status added to the difficulties in getting different organisations to work together on their responses following the two suicides, due to a ‘perception’ the council could only bring it to account over academic performance.

Ian Thomas, director of children’s services at Rotherham Council, said the school has been given an opportunity to respond to the report and he had not had any difficulties in discussing the issues it raised with the headteacher.

He said the reasons why the headteacher did not take part in the review was a matter for the school.

The school is one of the best academic performers in South Yorkshire, achieving a 78 per cent success rate in getting pupils to pass at least five GCSEs at grades A* to C last summer. It was found to be ‘outstanding’ in its most recent Ofsted report in 2013.