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Glemsford: Sacked board ‘frustrated’ by Ofsted report

11:00 14 January 2013

Glemsford Community Primary School

Glemsford Community Primary School

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MEMBERS of a board of governors sacked from a primary school during an alleged £500,000 computer scam investigation have expressed disappointment at the school’s recent ‘inadequate’ Ofsted rating.

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Glemsford Community Primary School, which was left owing thousands of pounds after unwittingly signing leases on 100 laptop computers, has also been placed under special measures to help it improve.

The Ofsted report, to be published this week, criticises the leadership, management, quality of teaching and achievement of pupils, and says Suffolk County Council had not provided enough support.

The local authority, which dismissed the entire board of governors and suspended headteacher Liz Steele in the wake of the computer fraud, told the EADT that it was “not responsible” for the problems highlighted by Ofsted.

But according to the school’s former vice chair of governors, John Watts, the sacked board members were “saddened and frustrated” to hear about the special measures introduced by Ofsted. He said: “We believe the costs of the suspension and the introduction of several temporary heads have resulted in damage to the school.

“The Ofsted interim report of June 2011 was positive and constructive and the inspector at the time was pleased with our progress. The new systems put in the school seem to have caused disruption to staff and pupils and a lowering of confidence and morale. Mrs Steele had a good success record and a wealth of teaching experience. The community can draw its own conclusions as to who is to blame.”

Another board member Richard Kemp, who believes the governors were used as ‘scapegoats’ during the computer scandal, added: “It is tempting to record that old line ‘we told you so’ to Suffolk County Council. But in simple terms, the whole situation has been a tragedy for the pupils, parents and taxpayers.”

Following Mrs Steele’s resignation, Philip Ilsley and Iain Birtwell were appointed as headteachers in September. Mr Ilsley said: “The school has been through a very challenging year and we accept the report in full because it acknowledges the stage that the school is at now, but also that many of these things have already been recognised and were are working to put them right.

“It acknowledges that, as interim heads, we have picked up on all the right things and that is what we have been tasked to do.”

Parents are invited to attend a meeting at the school on Thursday evening to discuss any concerns they have about the report.

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