The chair of governors at one of Merseyside's most prestigious schools, recently embroiled in a bullying row over a sacked teacher, is suddenly stepping down.
Martin Hill has decided to relinquish his duties at the top-performing Liverpool Blue Coat School after a number of years in the role.
It follows a stormy six months during which the former police superintendent was involved in the fall-out about John Lamb who was sacked for gross misconduct, but who claims he was bullied out of his job.
The longstanding geography teacher widely circulated an explosive 47-page leaving speech, detailing his concerns about alleged bullying by now-departed head Mike Pennington and other senior staff.
In recent days, it has emerged news about Mr Hill stepping down has been passed to staff at the Wavertree educational establishment.
It has been indicated he could still remain a governor, while no longer being chair, an esteemed position at the school.
The development was relayed to employees just before pupils returned to school this week for the start of the new term.
The Blue Coat has so far declined to comment on the move, but acting headteacher Scilla Yates said there was a "procedural process" and any announcement would be "shared [first] with key stakeholders."
The ECHO understands Mr Hill's replacement will shortly be announced and that current governor Joan Bonenfant, a former deputy headteacher in St Helens and school inspector, is strongly in the frame to succeed him.
One senior member of the Blue Coat community, who received the news about Mr Hill, told the ECHO: "It's hoped this step will breathe some fresh air into the school.
"There's a hope among many that this is a chance for a new way of operating for the future to be implemented."
Mr Lamb, who worked at the school for 25 years, is writing a book about his experiences at the Blue Coat entitled The Mad Commodore.
During the controversy, there were claims children had their mobile phones confiscated and scoured for any pro-Mr Lamb support.
Parents repeatedly sent "no confidence" letters to the Blue Coat governing body, and some of the school's own teachers issued a similar correspondence.
Former pupils have also expressed their alarm, with a secretary of the well-respected Old Blues organisation describing the environment of "poison" at the Wavertree school, and how a current employee described working there as "just like being in an abusive relationship."
Top news stories
During the Mr Lamb furore, some pupils, upset their mobile phones had been temporarily confiscated, threatened briefly to go on strike.
Blue Coat was one of just two Merseyside secondary schools to have made it onto a recent Sunday Times Top 10 North West Schools list.