Outcry over head teacher redundancy to go to Commons

12 April 2019

The head of Swinford C of E Primary School, Edy O’Connor, faces being made redundant by the Diocese of Leicester Academies Trust

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Swinford C of E Primary School

Swinford C of E Primary School

A PROTEST over the proposed redundancy of a head teacher of a church primary school is to be raised in Parliament.

The head of Swinford C of E Primary School, Edy O’Connor, faces being made redundant by the Diocese of Leicester Academies Trust (DLAT). Pupils at the school, and their parents, are seeking to reverse the move.

The Conservative MP for South Leicestershire, Alberto Costa, is to raise the issue during Education Questions in the House of Commons next week.

The DLAT proposes to appoint an executive head to oversee Swinford and another primary school in the trust.

At the end of last month, pupils and parents organised a campaign against the proposal. The Save our Head campaign group, which has about 105 members, says that it is attempting “to save our head from the tyranny of DLAT”.

One member of the campaign, Jamie Court, told the Leicester Mercury that people were “distraught and emotional” over the decision.

He said: “He’s so much more than a head teacher. He’s very children-focused and he puts in a lot of extra hours.

“He has transformed it into one of the most popular and engaging schools in our area.”

In a statement last week, Mr Costa said that he was “extremely disappointed” with the way in which the DLAT had conducted itself, and that he understood the concerns of constituents over the proposals. It had shown “very poor conduct”.

He said that he had met the Bishop of Leicester, the Rt Revd Martyn Snow, and together they had asked the DLAT to pause the process until it had consulted parents about the decision.

He said: “There has been very little in the way of communication with parents, and they have now ignored all outside advice intended to calm the situation and are now continuing this process in spite of the very negative reactions they have received.”

In response, the DLAT said that it had to make “very difficult and challenging decisions” because of the financial situation in which schools found themselves.

These challenges and pressures were unprecedented, it said, and, as the diocese had highlighted in the Small Schools Strategy, the Trust now had to adapt and evolve its approach to address them.

“These are not decisions that we take lightly, or in isolation. We would like to thank our community for making their views heard so clearly.”

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