Headteacher retires to help his college save cash

Steeping down: Ray Henshaw is quitting to save his school money.
Steeping down: Ray Henshaw is quitting to save his school money.

A headteacher in the district says he has been left with “no choice” but to retire early, blaming “the financial crisis that is gripping schools nationwide”.

Ray Henshaw, the principal of Minsthorpe Community College, left his role help “maintain the financial solvency of the college”.

He said he had brought forward his departure, originally planned for 2020, so the secondary school could make “a significant saving” in terms of his salary.

Mr Henshaw, who has been at the South Elmsall school since 2014, said: “It’s not a sudden decision.

We knew unless we addressed a whole range of things with the crisis with funding, we would not be able to remain solvent.”

His retirement comes a month after 3.5 million parents were sent letters warning of an education funding crisis in the nation’s schools, backed by more than 7,000 headteachers.

In January, it was revealed one in seven maintained schools in the region were struggling financially, with deficits doubling in the past two years to more than £30m.

Mr Henshaw said schools could not make money from the Government go “as far as it needs to”.

He said: “I have never seen education in the state that it is. It will take schools to go bankrupt - and I think it will happen - before finally [the Government] understands something has to be done.

“This is not about me and some hero sacrifice. Funding per student is not enough. We have, as a school, to protect our children from this. It is not their fault. Whatever finances we have got, it’s got to go into their education.”

Minsthorpe will now be led by two joint principals – Mark Gilmore and Rachael Merritt, currently vice principals.

Mr Henshaw, who started his teaching career in 1982 and said he was sad to be leaving, said: “Staff have borne the full force of these cuts so that the education of Minsthorpe students is not diminished or damaged.”

Though he did not disclose the figure, he said the school was now carrying “a small surplus”.

“We are now financially solvent for the next three years and in a strong position to maintain our good education provision,” he added.