Leadership Controversy Engulfs Prestigious St Aidan’s Anglican Girls School Amidst Staff Exodus

St Aidan's Anglican Girls School Corinda
Photo Credit: St Aidan's Anglican Girls School Corinda/Google Maps

St Aidan’s Anglican Girls School in Corinda faces a crisis as allegations of a toxic workplace culture prompt a staff exodus and a vote of no confidence, significantly impacting student wellbeing.

The issue came into the spotlight when an email, allegedly representing 49 current employees, articulated a deep-seated disillusionment with the school’s leadership under Principal Toni Riordan.

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This correspondence, addressed to the school council, catalogued a disturbing trend of 39 departures over the past year, encompassing senior leaders, educators, and support personnel. The email accused Principal Riordan of neglecting serious issues like bullying, thereby exacerbating the toxic environment.

In defense, the school’s spokesperson outlined that the turnover rate paralleled that of other independent schools, attributing departures to common reasons such as retirement and career progression. Despite this, the severity of the allegations has prompted a thorough review following the Complaints Management in Anglican Schools procedures, emphasizing the school’s commitment to the welfare of its community.

St Aidans Anglican Girls School
Photo Credit: Google Maps

Beyond the faculty, the instability has taken a significant toll on students, with reports of heightened anxiety, panic attacks, and therapy necessitation. Parents, having invested heavily in their children’s education at St Aidan’s, express profound disappointment and concern over the constant flux of teaching staff.

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In March, a mother reported that one of her daughters experienced a panic attack, breaking down in tears due to the departure of yet another teacher, while her other daughter developed severe anxiety and is now on medication, attributed to the stressful environment caused by frequent teacher resignations. 

She expressed frustration over the loss of advanced maths, science, and English teachers, deeming it unacceptable given the school’s annual tuition of up to $28,000 per student. Additionally, the family has incurred an extra $30,000 in expenses for private tutoring to compensate for the educational gaps, despite their children previously being high achievers.

The discontent extends to the school’s recent appointments, with the selection of Kim Cohen as interim deputy principal raising eyebrows. Cohen’s arrival from Saint Stephen’s College in Upper Coomera, where she departed amidst controversy, has done little to quell the unrest among the faculty.

As the school council grapples with these complex challenges, the wider community watches closely, hopeful for a resolution that reaffirms the school’s commitment to excellence in education and the well-being of all its members.

Published 1-April-2024