'Best headteacher in Britain' known for turning around schools suspended at Liverpool academy

Karen Hutchings with a 'headteacher of the year' award certificate
Karen Hutchings with a 'headteacher of the year' award certificate. Credit: Liverpool Echo

A headteacher once described as 'the best in Britain' has been suspended by her academy trust.Karen Hutchings, head of New Park Primary School in Kensington, Liverpool, and Chief Executive of the Sail Academy Trust, was known for turning around failing schools and has a stellar reputation in the education sector.

Karen Hutchings was dubbed 'Britain's best teacher'. Credit: Liverpool Echo

In 2016 Mrs Hutchings was named 'Headteacher of the Year' in the prestigious Times Educational Supplement (TES) awards.

At the time, Ann Mroz, then editor of TES, said: "Karen Hutchings is a shining example of a headteacher who epitomises inspirational leadership."Confirming her suspension, a statement from Sail Academy said: " 'As a Trust, we can confirm that the head of New Park Primary School has been suspended pending an on-going investigation.

The Trust has addressed any issues quickly and has followed all its policies and procedures. We have no further comment at this stage.'

A representative for Mrs Hutchings said she had no comment on the situation.Mrs Hutchings, who was also named head of the year by the Liverpool Echo in 2016, said at the time she was stunned that "a little girl from Norris Green" like her had trumped many leading secondary heads at the TES Awards ceremony in London.

New Park Primary school in Kensington, Liverpool Credit: Liverpool Echo

In November 2021 her £158,389 salary was subject to a row between the academy and the unions.A joint statement from unions GMB, NASUWT, NEU and UNISON accused Sail Academy Trust of denying staff "proper pay and conditions" at New Park Primary and its other school, Roscoe Primary School in Clubmoor.The statement said: "These salaries are far in excess of the largest salaries that are permissible in the national pay and conditions of service for teachers for schools of the size of New Park and Roscoe."The trust strongly denied its executive team were overpaid, calling claims by the unions "erroneous and malicious".It is thought the deputy head teacher Kelly Ann Poulson has been appointed acting head teacher while the investigation process is ongoing.

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