Interim head takes over school after teachers threaten to strike

NEED TO IMPROVE: Shotton Hall Primary School in County Durham. Picture: TOM BANKS (8270782)

NEED TO IMPROVE: Shotton Hall Primary School in County Durham. Picture: TOM BANKS (8270792)

First published in News

A SCHOOL where teachers have voted to take industrial action over allegations of “unacceptable management practices” has appointed a new interim head teacher after the previous head resigned.

Every member of the NASUWT teaching union at Shotton Hall Primary School, in Peterlee, County Durham, recently voted to take industrial action because of the way the school was being run.

NASUWT official John Hall said all his members at the 377-pupil school had raised grievances about management practices which had had an “adverse effect” on their working conditions.

“However, the situation now looks as if it being resolved,” he said.

Mr Hall praised the appointment of Rebecca Pavey as the interim head and expressed his hopes that the grievances of his members would be investigated by the local education authority .

The appointment of Mrs Pavey follows the resignation of head teacher Nicola Leyland for personal reasons.

Mrs Pavey, who is already head teacher at Wheatley Hill Community Primary and Nursery School, in County Durham, told The Northern Echo: “For personal reasons Mrs Leyland has left her position as head teacher at Shotton Hall Primary School after a short absence from school due to illness.”

Shotton Hall Primary School was judged to require improvements when it was visited by the inspection agency Ofsted in January this year.

In May, Ofsted returned and found that “senior leaders and governors are taking effective action to tackle the areas requiring improvement.”

However, Ofsted told school leaders they needed to take further action.

Ofsted found that pupils were making progress “as a result of the urgent actions being taken following the inspection...including training for teachers and visits to see outstanding practice at other schools.”

Mr Hall said the kind of difficulties experienced by his members were becoming “an ever increasing trend” because of the pressure-cooker climate surrounding education.

A spokesperson for Durham County Council said: “We are working with unions and staff during a period of significant change in school leadership following the departure of Mrs Leyland.

“We are aware of the situation with the trade union action and can confirm it has not impacted on the education or well-being of the children.”

Efforts were made to speak to Mrs Leyland but she was not available for comment.

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