Page last updated at 19:05 GMT, Monday, 24 November 2008

City's new academy head resigns

Oasis Academy Mayfield
Oasis Academy Mayfield was formed in the summer from two schools

A government minister has sought a meeting with a troubled city academy in Hampshire after its principal resigned just weeks into its first term.

On Monday, Ruth Johnson resigned from Southampton's Oasis Academy Mayfield, which was formed out of the merger of Grove Park and Woolston schools.

Announcing teacher John Toland as her replacement, the school did not give a reason for Mrs Johnson's departure.

Southampton Itchen MP John Denham said he wanted to meet Mr Toland soon.

Mr Denham, Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills, said he had held a meeting for parents of students at the new academy and was "shocked" by what he had heard.

"About 100 parents came to the meeting and I was shocked that they all had similar stories about the problems at the school," he said.

Ruth has a passion for the needs of young people and we wish her well in her future plans
Steve Chalke
Oasis Community Learning

"I already had a meeting scheduled with the previous principal and I am now trying to bring this forward with the new principal."

Oasis Academy Mayfield is one of two new academies in Southampton, which were created in the summer from the merger of four state secondary schools.

It is run by the Christian Oasis Community Learning charity, which has a number of academies across England.

It was understood that disruptive pupils broke windows and caused other damage soon after the academy started.

In a statement, Steve Chalke, chief executive of Oasis Community Learning, said: "I would like to take this opportunity to thank Ruth for her substantial contribution to the academy's planning and launch.

"Ruth has a passion for the needs of young people and we wish her well in her future plans.

"I'm delighted that John Toland, who has been working very hard as part of the Oasis education support team at Mayfield over the last few weeks, has agreed to continue his sterling work, now as principal.

"The welfare of our students will always remain our priority and we passionately believe they will benefit enormously from the strengthened leadership team now in place at the school."

Mr Toland, added: "I am delighted to have been appointed to this important position and am absolutely committed to making Mayfield a success.

"I want to assure parents, students and staff that I am fully focused on providing the best possible education for our children."

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