TWO leading school chiefs have been suspended while an investigation is carried out.

High profile educators Nardeep Sharma and Catherine Hutley have both been suspended.

Mr Sharma is the chief executive officer of the Thrive Partnership Academy Trust, which is a partnership between Philip Morant School and College in Colchester and the Colne Community School and College in Brightlingsea.

Ms Hutley is the principal of Philip Morant School and College and the executive head of the Colne School and College.

A spokesman for the Thrive Partnership Academy said: “I can confirm Nardeep Sharma and Catherine Hutley of the Thrive Partnership Academy Trust have been suspended.

“Suspension is a neutral act and enables the trust to carry out further work to establish the facts of the situation.

“There is no time frame for this as yet but, in the interest of all parties, we will seek to conclude as soon as possible.

“We have established interim arrangements for the leadership of our schools.”

The Gazette has asked both schools and Essex County Council to explain the nature of the allegations but they refused to elaborate further.

Tony Cheeld, 69, and wife, Sara, have had a total of seven children enrolled at the school of 25 years and Mr Cheeld said he had had concerns for some time.

He said the suspensions were “good news” but said more investigation was needed.

He added: “The beast is wounded but we now need to open the wound and get everything that is wrong out.”

He and a number of other parents recently rebelled against the decision by Philip Morant School not to set homework and said their children’s education was suffering as a result.

The Thrive Partnership Academy Trust was launched in September 2016 and comprises Colne Community School and College and Philip Morant School and College.

The schools have had a close working relationship for a number of years with the Colne helping Philip Morant when it was said to require improvement by Ofsted inspectors.

Philip Morant is now rated as good while the Colne School is said to be outstanding.

Mr Sharma said the partnership allows the two sites to share resources and save money. At the time, the schools said they were more likely to retain teaching talent if they were part of a multi-academy trust.

The Colne has 1,400 students while Philip Morant has 1,650.