Trust Headteachers’ Open Letter – 15 September 2023


This is an open letter that the headteachers of the six schools decided to put together following recent media coverage about South Bank Multi Academy Trust.

15 September 2023

As Headteachers of the six South Bank Multi Academy Trust (SBMAT) schools, we feel compelled to reply to the recent and past coverage about the Trust in York Press.

We feel strongly that the image being portrayed of the Trust, both in the Press and on social media, is not a true representation of the reality of SBMAT. Each and every one of the Headteachers recognises that our schools, and the Trust as a whole, are now in a better, safer and stronger place than we were 18 months ago. We are now part of a family of schools, which work together closely and collaboratively, and we are unequivocally supported by Mark Hassack, CEO, and the central team. Across the Trust, there have been marked improvements, many of which have been reported on at recent Ofsted inspections in some of our schools.

Mark has years of experience in education both as a teacher and headteacher, as do other members of the central team, and we all benefit immensely from their collective knowledge, experience and skills. We ALL do our jobs so that we can give the children in our schools the best educational experience possible, and as a group, the CEO, the central team and the Heads make important decisions together. As Heads, we are not silenced or railroaded into decisions we don’t agree with, moreover we challenge each other constructively to ensure we are making the best decisions for the pupils and the future of our schools. As Heads, we feel included, listened to, heard, supported, valued and motivated to do the best we can for our pupils and our colleagues.

As Headteachers of SBMAT schools we are fully aware that not every decision made will be popular with the whole community, we are however confident that all decisions are made with the best interests of our pupils at heart. The endless personal attacks on Mark Hassack are undeserved and as Heads, we cannot stand by whilst this continues. We feel fortunate to work with the Trust, which not only has a strong leadership team but also has a fully engaged and supportive Trust Board.

In previous communications, Mark has encouraged parents/carers to visit our schools to see what really happens and find out how we operate as part of a Trust. As Heads, we want to further extend this invitation and would encourage your readers to take us up on this offer, and find out the truth for themselves rather than trusting in the opinions of a minority on social media.

Rod Sims, York High School
Gemma Greenhalgh, Millthorpe School
Vicki Kerr, Carr Junior School
Adam Cooper, Knavesmire Primary School
Paul Edwards, Scarcroft Primary School
James McGann, Woodthorpe Primary School

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