New head at King Solomon

The governors of King Solomon High School have appointed an acting head teacher to plug the gap following the banning of Jo Shuter last week.

Ms Shuter, who joined the Orthodox school in Redbridge last September, was struck off by the Department for Education for abusing expenses while head of her previous school.

Dr Paul Doherty, head of a local Catholic high school, Trinity, moved into King Solomon on Monday just days after the announcement of the sanctions on Ms Shuter.

He quickly indicated that he was a stickler for discipline, emailing parents to warn that girls with too-short skirts would be sent home and disruptive pupils risked exclusion.

He also revealed to parents that he would not be paid extra for taking on his new role. He told them: “The school enjoys an excellent reputation and has the innate potential to be truly outstanding.”

Murray Simon, King Solomon’s site manager, said Mr Doherty had“brought with him a lot of discipline. He said in assembly: ‘I intend to uphold the mores and culture of the Jewish ethos at this school’. Everything seems to be in order again.”

The new head’s arrival appears to have calmed parents troubled by the upheaval of recent events. Simone Mazin, who has a child due to begin at King Solomon in September, said: “The school needs a strong leader and the acting head teacher seems strong, so I’m quite happy about my child going there.”

Mrs Mazin had been one of more than 200 signatories to an online petition calling on Ms Shuter to be kept on by King Solomon. “She really impressed me,” she said.

Ofsted acknowledged that the school had made progress under Ms Shuter following a critical inspection at the end of last year. But local rabbis voiced concern at the reduced allocation of Jewish studies and Hebrew and the turnover of Jewish studies staff.

One rabbi commented this week: “There are a lot of reasons to be optimistic now”.

Last updated: 5:45pm, May 22 2014