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New governor appointed at primary school in Sudbury with suspended headteacher

PUBLISHED: 12:44 21 December 2015 | UPDATED: 12:20 22 December 2015

Ian Phillips is a new governer at Sudbury primary School (pic credit: Minna Waring)

Ian Phillips is a new governer at Sudbury primary School (pic credit: Minna Waring)

© Minna Waring

A primary school in Sudbury has appointed a new governor to its board in light of allegations surrounding the suspension of the head teacher under allegations of “gross misconduct”.

Uma Pandya (pic credit: Sudbury Primary School  website)Uma Pandya (pic credit: Sudbury Primary School website)

Ian Phillips was appointed the role at Sudbury Primary School in Harrow Road, following a recommendation from the Department of Education (DfE).

Ms Pandya was suspended from her role as headteacher in October.

Mr Phillips, who has headed governors at Woodhouse College in Finchley for 22 years, was made a national leader of governance’ by the National College of Teaching and Leadership last year.

The primary school was converted to academy status in 2012. The academy trust is the school itself. Governors are responsible for hiring staff and governing body members.

Sudbury Primary School is in Harrow RoadSudbury Primary School is in Harrow Road

Earlir this month staff at the school voted to strike if Ms Pandya is reinstated.

Jean Roberts, former teacher and a member of National Union of Teachers, said: “The local authority (LA) has no say on what happens in the school. If it had been an LA school, it would have come in, they would have taken control, they would have made it clear to all the staff and all the parents what was going to happen and sorted the situation out.

“Because it’s the Department of Education up in Westminster which is dealing with the school now, that’s why it’s got to this stage. That’s why we in the unions are against academies because they are not part of the local authority and they cannot deal with it.”

The chair of governors remains Bob Wharton.

Bob Wharton is the school's chair of governersBob Wharton is the school's chair of governers

He said: “The trust and the governing body are effectively the same people. The DfE suggested Ian as a governor and the governing body was happy to agree to him joining.

“I am personally delighted that he is joining us. He has made a good impression on the staff who met him at recent staff meetings. He brings excellent experience to the governing body.”

A spokesman for the DfE said: “We take very seriously any allegation that children’s educations are being put at risk. We are continuing to work with the academy trust to strengthen governance.

“We recommended they request support from other experienced governors.”

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