Somerville House , South Brisbane, as it is now. Then and Now, Brisbane News
Somerville House , South Brisbane, as it is now. Then and Now, Brisbane News

Principal ordered off campus

SOMERVILLE House principal Flo Kearney and director of communications Sarah Dreaver have been sacked effective immediately in the ongoing fallout of the state's deepening elite private school scandal.

The Presbyterian and Methodist Schools Association, which governs Somerville House, Brisbane Boys College, Clayfield College and Sunshine Coast Grammar School, ordered the two senior executive staff members off the South Brisbane school campus late Wednesday.

It is understood the pair were accused of talking to The Courier-Mail.

In a shock move, the PMSA has reinstated former principal Ness Goodwin, a known ally of the besieged church body, to act in the top job in caretaker mode as about 1200 students at the $22,000-a-year school are engulfed by the crisis.

Mrs Kearney, who has not spoken publicly about her ordeal, resigned earlier this month but was originally due to serve out her term until the end of the school year.

Somerville House principal Flo Kearney was to have finished out the term at the school but has been told to leave immediately.
Somerville House principal Flo Kearney was to have finished out the term at the school but has been told to leave immediately.

Ms Dreaver, a third-generation Somerville House Old Girl and daughter of a Uniting Church minister with 50 years' service, was devastated by her shock dismissal.

The PMSA is embroiled in claims of an alleged data breach, misconduct, lewd behaviour and an exodus of key staff.

The Courier-Mail understands PMSA executive manager Rick Hiley, who has admitted to the mass download of documents, went to Somerville House yesterday afternoon and fired the pair himself.

The school community late yesterday was yet to be informed the pair had been given their marching orders.

Outraged parents with almost 900 supporters from all four of the private schools have set up an independent body "Beyond PMSA".

"I've been instructed I can only talk to my lawyers and not to make any comment,'' an emotional Ms Dreaver told The Courier-Mail.

Beyond PMSA has used its Facebook page to promote a town-hall meeting next Wednesday in public protest over the treatment of staff and botched handling of the scandal by the PMSA.

They are "calling for the PMSA to be disbanded and each school to establish a council/board that is solely focused on maintaining that school's history, legacy, and future prospects''.

"The very future of the school, how it is run and - most importantly - by who, is at stake,'' it said.


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