THE group of individuals who decided two school leaders should be suspended, did so following "risk assessments".

Catherine Hutley was suspended from her role as executive principal of the Thrive Partnership Academy Trust in March, alongside its chief executive Nardeep Sharma.

The trust had been running Philip Morant School in Colchester, and the Colne Community School, Brightlingsea, since 2016.

To date, no reasons have been provided as to why the pair were suspended.

However, Neil Jones, chairman of the Thrive Partnership Academy Trust, confirmed he was among those on the governance board who decided it was the best course of action.

He sits on the trust board along with three members and several trustees, the latter of which had included Mr Sharma and Ms Hutley.

Mr Jones said, in the latest of statements he has only ever issued via a public relations company, that: "The Trust Board made the decision to suspend, in line with the Trust's procedures following the appropriate risk assessments.

"Both Mr Sharma and Ms Hutley were fully aware of the reasons for their suspensions and have been kept fully updated throughout the process.

"The Trust Board and the interim headteachers at both schools have communicated regularly with all parents to keep them informed."

The Gazette had asked who initiated the suspensions of Ms Hutley and Mr Sharma and on what grounds.

We also asked for Mr Jones to expand on the phrase "appropriate risk assessments" but he did not.

In July, The Gazette reported that four months after she was suspended, Ms Hutley had confirmed she was leaving the trust on August 31.

She earns £112,154 annually and will receive four months contractual notice pay when she leaves.

Mr Sharma has a salary of £137,714 and remains suspended.

The other board members are Frank Pomroy, Suzanne Farrell and Ian Galen, while the trustees are Andrew Cooke, Margaret Wilson, Richard Mark Jeffries, Sarah Dignasse and Stephen Munday.

The Gazette has tried to contact individual members and trustees since March.

Sigma Academy Trust will take over the schools from September.