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MP demands answers after two suspended headteachers return to work
AN MP is demanding answers after two headteachers who were suspended from one of the most improved schools in the country returned to work without an explanation.
Roberta Blackman-Woods’ call came after Durham County Council confirmed Trevor Dunn and Sam Robbins, who were removed from leading the Durham Federation of schools within a few weeks in October and November respectively, had returned to work.
The announcement came as Anne Lakey, whose suspension as Federation chief executive last December led to Mr Dunn taking overall control, was charged with eight sexual offences against a boy under 16.
The council said the charges were entirely unrelated to Mr Dunn’s and Mrs Robbins’ suspensions, but refused to say why they had been temporarily removed.
Dr Blackman-Woods said: “Somebody needs to provide an explanation.
“Maybe now’s not the time, but when the whole matter is looked at.”
The MP stressed she was not criticising the council, saying it had acted in the proper manner.
Mrs Lakey, 53, from Stanley, is charged with four counts of indecent assault, two counts of gross indecency and two counts of incitement to commit gross indecency, all against the same boy and all said to have taken place between April 1988 and May 1989. She is due in court next month.
The alleged victim was not a pupil at any school where Mrs Lakey has worked.
Dr Blackman-Woods said she was “very concerned” at the charges.
“I hope for everybody concerned that it can be dealt with very quickly and it doesn’t drag out because that would be a real problem for the individuals, the school and the wider community,” she added.
Meanwhile, pupils were today (Thursday, December 5) given letters to take home explaining the situation and briefings were held for senior staff.
Simon Kennedy, from the NASUWT union which has been supporting teachers, said they were concerned at the charges but added: “Our members will continue to focus on delivering the best education they can for the kids. For us, it’s business as usual.”
The Federation includes Ushaw Moor’s Durham Community Business College, a pioneer of vocational education, and Sacriston’s Fyndoune Community College, one of the most improved state secondary schools in the country three years running.
Mrs Lakey also had a national role in turning round failing schools.