The chair of governors at the John Roan in Greenwich has backtracked and apologised over claims the school’s deficit was partly caused by a drop in the number of sixth form pupils.

In March the school’s leadership sent a letter to parents stating that the revenue for this year had fallen by £400,000 due to a fewer than expected number of year 11 pupils staying on to sixth form.

Because of the deficit - £438,000 in total – the school announced a package of restructuring proposals, including 11 teacher redundancies and a narrowing of the curriculum, which sparked a series of strikes by teaching staff.

Parents contested the £400,000 figure with the headteacher Nadine Powrie – who has since resigned - and the governing body, which led to the former head Des Malone making a public statement to refute the claim.

Addressing the claim that fewer sixth form students has contributed to the deficit, Mr Malone said: “This is the biggest misconception being communicated to parents.”

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Former John Roan headteacher Des Malone.

When asked to respond to Mr Malone’s claims, the school refused.

Last month in a public meeting, chair of the governing body Patrick Cooper retracted the claim over the “lost” £400,000.

He said: “Now to the £400,000 in sixth form enrolment. We have had many requests to withdraw the statement in connection to the £400,000 deficit.

“In order to remove this as a point of contention we do retract this sentence... Unreservedly we apologise for the confusion and grief generated by the letter about the £400,000."

Parents who joined teachers in campaigning against the proposed restructure, believe they have been vindicated by Mr Cooper’s retraction.

News Shopper has contacted the school and Mr Cooper for comment.

After months of turmoil between staff, parents and the leadership, the school dropped its restructuring plans and confirmed no compulsory redundancies would be made.

Ms Powrie has been replaced by Carolyn Roberts, headteacher at Thomas Tallis, to take over as interim head whilst a replacement is found for the next academic year.