Cowes Enterprise College: Principal Jonathan Russell resigns (Updated)

Ahead of the official release of the Ofsted inspection report, Principal Jonathan Russell resigns from his position.

News has reached On The Wight that the head of Cowes Enterprise College, Jonathan Russell, has resigned from his post as Principal.

Readers may recall that the school was subject to an Ofsted inspection at the end of last month.

Special Measures?
Although the Ofsted report has not yet been officially released, rumours have been circulating around the Isle of Wight that Ofsted are calling for the College to go into Special Measures.

On The Wight reader, James Doyle, said yesterday that this is being challenged by the College.

Resignation or suspension?
Chatter amongst some pupils at the College yesterday was said to have “been that apparently he resigned”, but others say, “he is not resigning, I heard that he had to re-apply for his job/had been suspended and was having to be interviewed to get it back”.

Pupils who contacted On The Wight this morning (Friday) explained that they had been told that the Headteacher was ‘off ill today’.

Trust fails to provide statement
We approached the clerk of Governors yesterday to ask whether the rumours were correct. Our email was forwarded to Alan Wells who responded last night telling On The Wight that a statement would be released today.

The Chair of Governors, Alan Wells, who is now famously selective about the media he chooses to deal with, has as yet has failed to alert us.

The news has been reported by the County Press.

Update 16:49
The letter to parents
Thanks to On The Wight reader James Doyle, who let us know about the Parents letter now being available on the CEC college Website. We’ve embeded it below for your convenience.

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Friday, 21st December, 2012 11:51am



Filed under: Cowes, Education, Isle of Wight News, Top story

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Any views or opinions presented in the comments below are solely those of the author and do not represent those of OnTheWight.


  1. ” has been resigned” Fell or pushed?

  2. Alisatir Dickinson

    21.Dec.2012 12:15pm

    Probably Headteacher not Headeacher ;-)

  3. Far better to challenge a report that places the school in special measures than taking action to resolve the problem, isn’t it?

  4. James doyle

    21.Dec.2012 1:21pm

    Shows the professionalism of the college when you read the formal letter on their website

    You can see that they have cut mr wells signature on a piece of paper and stuck it onto this letter! Looks shoddy and poor, if they cant even make that professional what hope do we have!!

  5. mike starke

    21.Dec.2012 2:28pm

    Let’s not forget the main victims of the serial ineptitude surrounding Cowes Enterprise College (CEC) are the students and parents, plus many staff, who are all being let down by those responsible for the fiasco.

    It is also worth bearing in mind CEC was supposed to be a cornerstone of the Island’s education reforms masterminded by ex-primary school teacher (now head of education and chief executive of Isle of Wight Council)Steve Beynon.

    The cabinet member in charge at the time was then-Cllr Alan Wells, now chairman of the CEC governors.

    His cabinet position is now held by council leader Cllr David Pugh.

    The CEC project’s descent into farce has seen two County Hall education officials and the principal taking the flak, with a high probability that Ofsted will put the boot in, to add to the debacle.

    The silence from Messrs Pugh and Beynon has been deafening. And yet they are the two ultimately responsible.

    It speaks volumes for the style of leadership at County Hall that this responsibility is being shirked.

  6. island monkey

    21.Dec.2012 3:05pm

    They are all in this together. Mike is as ever, spot on. The responsibility for this fiasco rests at County Hall with the three of them.

    Wells was in charge – Pugh now is. Beynon was hired for his ‘expertise’ in education – it’s what we pay him £150,000 a year (three grand a week) for. Wells even has the cheek to blame the council. That would be HIS council, the one the Cowes electorate kicked him off. Yes, the same on run by the Tory party that he Chairs. These people insult our intelligence on a weekly basis.

  7. How very sad that Jonathan Russell has resigned. The problems at this school seem to be ongoing and it seems reading between the lines that he has been made the scape goat. I can only imagine how he is feeling.
    Any institution is not run just by one person and those who sit on the governing body should start looking at themselves and the duty of care they owe not only to their students but also their staff.
    I wish Jonathan Russell success in finding a new post and hope that the bad experience he has had at CEC will not damage his career.

  8. retiredhack

    21.Dec.2012 5:29pm

    I’m reminded of the chemistry master who wrote on a boy’s report: “I understand he plays the trumpet.”

    I understand Mr Wells makes very good stoves.

    • This is probably the comment of the week for me.

      • (Off topic I know, but are the stoves in fact regarded as ‘very good’? I might be in the market for one but would like another recommendation. ;->, but I would like to hear from anyone!)

        • Charnwood stoves (built by AJ Wells) are fantastic. I know a number of people who have them and rave on about them. I’m going to install one myself next year.

          • prewitt parrot

            22.Dec.2012 1:45pm

            I was seriously considering buying one but changed my mind having seen the response that can be expected over legitimate safety concerns

        • Best on the market is Clearview Stoves not Charnwood. I would steer clear of Charnwood.

          • prewitt parrot

            22.Dec.2012 3:38pm

            I agree as its very suspicious calling them Charnwood Stoves and not Wells Stoves, it leaves me wondering if they could have something to hide under the cloak of anonymity.

        • Hello, I looked at Charnwood and bought an Esse instead, similar price, but the build quality of the Esse was superior all round. You won’t regret having a burner, best decision we ever made

          • Who needs comparison sites, I’ve had it all here! I shall certainly take a look at Esse, Hermit…

          • prewitt parrot

            23.Dec.2012 12:44pm

            Perhaps OTW could introduce a star rating system, and how about a few review articles with direct comparisons between Alan’s offerings and other manufacturers models for performance and value. As we appear to be starting to attract the stove buying community already.

  9. That was a delightful & informative detour everyone, thanks very much! prewitt parrott, you are a serious contender for the Wittiest On the Wight award this year!

  10. Jonathan Russell seems to have joined a list of those who have been held accountable for failings in the Isle of Wight Education system. Andrew Turner said that “Government” had been concerned about educational standard on the Island for “some time”
    Chief Executive (and ex Ofsted Inspector)Judith Richardson was removed in September 2012. Her failing was to point out hard and unpalatable truths about Medina and Carisbrooke. The Governors of the inept Island Innovation Trust failed to support her. They undermined her by circulating a questionnaire about her to teachers requiring their signatures.
    Deputy Director of Education at County Hall, Janet Newman was suspended. The Cowes Rebuild formerly had a dedicated Project Manager, essential in any major undertaking. He was removed and the poisoned chalice handed to Janet in addition to all her other responsibilities. The delay in opening Cowes was then attributed to her. It may also have played a part in Jonathan Russell’s overload.
    Arguably Cowes Enterprise College (rumoured to be going into Special Measures following December’s Ofsted) was better than Shanklin Bay and Medina. Carisbrooke is in another lower league altogether.
    So come Ofsted, will those schools be joining Cowes?
    What or who is the common denominator in all these failures?
    It is very hard to find any justifiable excuse for Messrs Beynon and Pugh. They are keen on spinning their positions and avoiding accountability by offloading the blame. For years they have been talking up the woeful performance of our secondary schools. If there is a valid reason for their failures why not just explain the situation. If my memory serves me, a former Cabinet Member for Education told the County Press last year that all our secondary schools, except Christ the King would go into Special Measures.
    If all our Principals/Headteachers go, where are the next lot of sacrificial lambs coming from?
    It is a standing so called joke amongst mainland teachers and LEAs who are not doing so well to say “At least we are not as bad as the Isle of Wight”
    Our children deserve better.

    • Well said Patsy – agree 100% in this.

    • greenfiremouse

      12.Jan.2013 6:26pm

      @ Patsy
      “If my memory serves me, a former Cabinet Member for Education told the County Press last year that all our secondary schools, except Christ the King would go into Special Measures.”
      Unfortunately, the CP appears to have deleted any trace of that remark. At least, I have failed to find it.
      Would you mind sharing with the rest of the readers who actually said this?
      It could possibly clarify a few other “funny” events in this never-ending saga!

  11. Charles T

    17.Jan.2013 5:21pm

    Well now we know the circle is complete with the Ofsted report now out and I wonder if we can get a statement from the LA on what the bl**dy hell they’ve been doing while ‘Rome’ burned?

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