THE Dartmoor Multi Academy Trust has denied that the resignation of two headteachers from its schools in the space of a week is in any way connected with its controversial restructure.

The headteachers of both Chagford Primary School and South Tawton Primary School have resigned.

A letter to parents from Ed Finch, the headteacher of Chagford, gave the reason for his resignation as his wish to spend more time with his son, as a single parent. No reason has been given for the departure of Sarah Marvin, who is the headteacher at South Tawton Primary School.

However Leif Terry, a parent with a child at South Tawton Primary School, said he and other parents were aware that the two headteachers were being asked to apply for one post to run both schools.

‘They were forced out,’ he said. ‘They were told that one headteacher would have to cover the two schools and also teach two days a week, which is impossible.’

He added that South Tawton headteacher Sarah Marvin was an ‘excellent’ teacher who had achieved an Ofsted ‘Good’ rating for the school. 

Another parent said: ‘Yet again it’s a very valued member of staff lost.’

A DMAT spokesperson did not deny or confirm the departure of the two headteachers, but issued a statement saying: ‘While there naturally may be some personnel changes and leavers from the trust for different reasons, these will be communicated in due course, with the support and guidance of those leaving. 

‘It is important to respect the rights of colleagues to manage this process in the way they see as best.’

As the restructure, which has seen the loss of a number of teaching assistant roles as well as an amagamation of headships, progresses, DMAT has blamed the lack of Government funding for the situation.  

According to Department for Education statistics, Devon schools were allocated an average of over £200 less per pupil in real terms in the last financial year than the national average. This is in contrast to inner city London schools which received on average over £1,000 more per pupil in real terms than the national average last financial year. 

However, angry parents have instead pointed the finger at the DMAT itself, questioning whether the salaries of DMAT directors should be cut to save money instead. In response to these concerns, the Okehampton Times made a Freedom of Information request for the salaries of the trust’s executives.

PR agency PLMR, employed by the trust, refused the request, stating that the information ‘falls under data protection legislation.’ 

However, the four executive level salary bands on the DMAT website reveal that the chief executive officer earns between £126,925 and £146,925, while the trust deputy leader’s salary is between £94,884 and £101,875. 

Two other posts are listed between £92,597 and £102,137. There are eight DMAT directors and this data suggests that £800,000 is spent on their salaries a year.