Troubled primary school in Sudbury with suspended headteacher is downgraded by Ofsted

The school has had its rating downgraded, right, Uma Pandya

The school has had its rating downgraded, right, Uma Pandya - Credit: Archant

A troubled primary school in Sudbury where the headteacher has been suspended under allegations of “gross negligence” has had its rating downgraded by an education watchdog.

Sudbury Primary School in Watford Road, has been told it ‘requires improvement’ by Ofsted in a report published yesterday.

The school, which was previously rated as ‘good’, has been blighted with controversy following the suspension of Uma Pandya in November and claims of in-fighting among staff and a feud within the governing body.

Ian Phillips stepped in as the new chair in December replacing Bob Wharton.

According to the Ofsted report the school, which converted to an academy in 2012, requires improvement in the effectiveness of leadership and management despite being “good” in all other categories.

It states: “Some staff are disgruntled with senior leadership and, in particular, the headteacher. This, and ongoing disharmony with governors, is limiting the effectiveness of leaders to improve the academy further.”

It added “some leaders and governors are currently in a dispute with each other and staff are taking sides”, that governors “do not speak with a common voice” regarding their decisions and have “not always taken consistent, timely actions which have recently been necessary as a result of concerns raised.”

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In two secret staff ballots in November and December more than 40 workers voted unanimously for industrial action if Ms Pandya is reinstated as headteacher.

The report said one in four staff members who responded to an online staff survey “do not agree the academy is well led” and a number of staff and parents believe school leaders and governors do not do enough “to ensure the safety of pupils.”

The school was rated “good” in the four other criteria: Quality of teaching, learning and assessment, personal development, behaviour and welfare, outcomes for pupils, and early years’ provision.

Inspectors said good teaching was “evident” across the whole curriculum and pupils behave well in and out of lessons.

Recommendations given to the school include improving leadership and ensuring that an urgent independent review of the work of the governing body are promptly acted on in the next few weeks.

Click here to read the full report.