Staff at Sudbury Primary School vote to strike if suspended headteacher returns

Uma Pandya (pic credit: Sudbury Primary School website)

Uma Pandya (pic credit: Sudbury Primary School website) - Credit: Archant

Staff at a primary school in Sudbury whose headteacher has been suspended has threatened to strike if she returns.

Sudbury Primary School

Sudbury Primary School - Credit: Archant

More than 40 teachers and support staff from Sudbury Primary School in Watford Road, voted unanimously to take industrial action if Uma Pandya is reinstated.

The workers voted 43 in favour of striking with two against in a secret ballot.

Ms Pandya was removed from her post following allegation of “gross negligence”.

An investigation into the claims is currently taking place.

In a packed last minute meeting with union chiefs yesterday where the vote took place Phil Pardoe, a regional officer of the National Union of Teachers (NUT), said: “It’s a clear sign of how important you see this situation that you have come at such short notice.

“At this point in time we either have to move forward or we will move backwards. “That really does mean that we have to agree to ballot for industrial action.

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“There has been an amount of publicity; clearly there are big divisions between people on the governing body and divisions between the governing body and the London borough of Brent. One strength that we have is that we are united.”

Staff at the school had previously unanimously made a vote of no confidence in Ms Pandya and there was anger that governors had not replied to any correspondence sent to them.

Hank Roberts, secretary of Brent’s Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL), told workers that they would be paid for any strike action taken.

He also added that a priority was to let parents know what’s happening.

He said: “We want to give further information to the parents. Parents need to know and be involved. We think and we would organise it, we should call a meeting inviting all parents to it, all staff to it, obviously the unions. If they come, great, we are all for free speech, not against it.”

He added: “We need to appoint a head teacher that has confidence from the staff.”

Bob Wharton, chair of governors, told the Times: “An independent investigation is in progress. We cannot comment further.”

A spokesman for Brent Council said: “It would be completely inappropriate for us to discuss the detail of personnel matters at this independent Academy school. Brent’s HR business service has advised on employment matters at the request of the school.”

The school is currently being overseen by acting headteacher Kamini Mistry.