Head suspended over ‘incident’

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Education chiefs are remaining tight-lipped after a Mansfield Woodhouse headteacher was suspended following an ‘incident’ at the school.

Nottinghamshire County Council temporarily replaced Julie Rowbottom, headteacher at Robin Hood Primary and Nursery School, on Oxclose Lane, following the incident last week

A letter to parents from governor Pauline Witham confirms a ‘temporary management change at the school’ but does not state why Mrs Rowbottom has been suspended and urges parents not to ask staff or governors.

But parents who spoke to Chad called for the school to explain why the suspension has taken place, and claimed that children had been transferred to other schools.

They also said that complaints made by parents to Mrs Rowbottom and governors were not followed through.

“Mrs Rowbottom has been suspended from her post pending an investigation into a matter at the school,” Mrs Witham states in the letter.

“I am afraid I am unable to provide any further details to parents and I would ask that you do not approach staff or governors for any further information.”

One parent, who asked not to be named, said: “I just think that it’s terrible that they won’t tell us what’s happened.

“It’s our children at this school and we have a right to know if anything has gone off.”

The letter also states that Sharon Gray, headteacher at Netherfield Primary School, in Carlton, had been brought in as executive headteacher - an appointment which the county council also confirmed.

Ms Gray was awarded Teacher of the Year at this year’s Pride of Britain Awards for her ‘awe-inspiring flair and inventiveness’ for turning around the struggling Netherfield primary and securing it an ‘outstanding’ rating from school inspectors Ofsted.

John Slater, service director for education, standards and inclusion at Nottinghamshire County Council said: “The headteacher of Robin Hood Primary School has been suspended from her post while an investigation takes place into an incident which occurred at the school.

“As an investigation is on-going, it would not be appropriate to make any further comments.

“Sharon Gray has been appointed as executive headteacher during the investigation, to ensure continued management and that the children’s education is not affected.

“Ms Gray was recently voted Teacher of the Year at the Pride of Britain Awards. Her own school, Netherfield Primary School, has been judged as outstanding by Ofsted.”

A recent Ofsted inspection at the Oxclose Lane school rated it as satisfactory and praised Mrs Rowbottom’s leadership - stating: “The hardworking headteacher has built a team whose dedication never falters.”

Figures provided by the county council also show an increase in pupil numbers at the school in recent years, rising from 130 in January 2009 to 152 in January 2013 in reception to Year 6.

The county council also said it only had records of one complaint against Robin Hood Primary, relating to the use of the school hall by an after-school club.

The authority would not comment on how long the investigation would take but told Chad that Ms Gray was in post at the school and was dividing her time between Robin Hood Primary and Netherfield Primary.

Mansfield Woodhouse district and county councillor Joyce Bosnjak said: “The county council will clearly be supporting the school with any action they might need to take.

“What is important to me is that the children are not adversely affected in any way.”