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Furness Primary School: Union staff members hold half day strike in protest at "bullying management"

PUBLISHED: 18:13 17 July 2019 | UPDATED: 19:11 19 July 2019

Staff and parents from Furness Primary School on picket line. Picture: NEU

Staff and parents from Furness Primary School on picket line. Picture: NEU

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Union members from a primary school in Harlesden held a half day strike over allegations of "bullying" by the executive head.

Staff and parents from Furness Primary School on picket line. Picture: NEUStaff and parents from Furness Primary School on picket line. Picture: NEU

Furness Primary School staff held a picket outside the premises in Furness Road from 7.30am to 9am on Thursday.

Executive headteacher Sylvia Libson has been accused of a "bullying management style".

The Times was unable to reach Mrs Libson through the school, but a spokesperson for Furness said an "independent investigation" was under way.

National Education Union (NEU) members said in a statement: "There are 11 different complaints against Mrs Libson and morale is at an all-time low."

Furness Primary School. Picture: Jan NevilleFurness Primary School. Picture: Jan Neville

The school has agreed to an independent investigation into the complaints but the NEU said it would "continue to strike" until it knew who was investigating.

Lesley Gouldbourne, Brent NEU secretary, said: "The chair of trustees has asked that all complaints are sent to him and they will be forwarded to an independent investigator.

"Members are not convinced it is independent so we are holding a half-day strike in recognition of that."

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A former local authority school, Furness formed a multi-academy trust, Excellence in Education, with Oakington Manor Primary School in March 2016.

A spokesperson for Furness said: "The school has agreed to an independent investigation taking place into the grievances made against Mrs Libson and is in the process of setting this up.

"No further comment will be made by the school."

It is not the first time the school has dealt with senior staff.

In 2011 former headteacher Alan King was sacked following allegations of financial and curriculum mismanagement.

Later that year he lost his appeal against his dismissal.

He was fired from his post in October 2011 following his suspension in January of that year after Brent Council received a confidential letter questioning his conduct.

A panel upheld decision to fire him which was undertaken by an Interim Executive Board which had replaced the school's governing board.

Krutika Pau, the council's director of children and families, said at the time: "We will not tolerate behaviour which threatens to damage the educational achievements of young people in Brent. Our primary concern has always been the wellbeing and educational achievement of the children who attend our schools, and we will always act promptly and decisively when that is under threat."

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