Sudbury: Mystery over absence of school headteacher
PARENTS of children who attend a Catholic school are demanding answers after the unexplained absence of its headteacher and the removal of the entire board of foundation governors.
Officials at St Joseph’s Roman Catholic Primary School, in Sudbury, have remained tight-lipped as to why headteacher Pauline Lawrence is not at the school and another head has been drafted in.
Suffolk County Council confirmed that Mrs Lawrence was currently “absent” from the school, but a spokesman said they could not give a reason at this stage.
The spokesman did confirm that Maria Kemble, currently headteacher at St Edmund’s Catholic School in Bury St Edmunds, has been brought in as acting headteacher to run both schools.
In a decision that has shocked the school community the Rt Rev Michael Evans, Bishop of the Diocese of East Anglia, has removed all seven foundation governors, including Father Peter Brett, of Our Lady and St John the Evangelist in Sudbury.
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The move has created further turmoil at the school and left parents angry and uncertain about their children’s future.
Parents, who did not wish to be named, contacted the EADT saying they will remove their children from the school if the situation is not resolved.
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One parent said: “We need to know soon if Mrs Lawrence is to be reinstated so we can make a decision on our children’s education. We are totally shocked.”
Another parent said he was concerned at the number of teachers who had left the school in the last year and the number of supply teachers who were taking classes.
Another said: “We have had no explanation as to why the governors were sacked. We need answers now as we feel we are being kept in the dark by the diocese and we are totally dismayed.”
In a statement from the diocese a spokesman would not comment on the issue of Mrs Lawrence, but said there had been protracted efforts to resolve the school’s difficulties.
He said: “Acting upon the advice of the Diocesan Schools Service Commission, the bishop gave notice of his intention to remove the foundation governors inviting them to make written representations to him. After giving full consideration to those representations the bishop removed them. The action was supported by the local authority.”
He added that new governors would be appointed as soon as possible. The entire governing body of the school also includes two parents, two members of staff from the school and one representative from the local education authority, all of whom remain on the governing body.
St Joseph’s School dates back to 1901 and was officially opened on its present site in Beaconsfield Road in 1909 by the Rt Rev Frederick Beating, the then Bishop of Northampton.
The school caters for children aged five to nine years, as part of the Roman Catholic three-tier education system in the county.