Uplands Junior: Judge grants permission for judicial review

Uplands Junior School Uplands School governors say the council's decision were "unlawful"

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School governors whose powers were stripped in a row over restructuring have won their first step in claiming the council's decision was "unlawful".

In September, Leicester City Council suspended the head of Uplands Junior School and cancelled the governing board's budget.

The council claimed the board failed to comply with a warning notice designed to curb clashes with teaching unions.

A High Court judge has ruled the board can progress with a judicial review.

Uplands Junior School timeline

  • December 2012 - tensions begin to rise over restructuring proposals
  • 14 April 2013 - collective grievance filed by the staff citing "a history of conflict" and calling for the removal of the head Tim Luckcock
  • 18 April - Mr Luckcock criticised for wearing a turban in a Facebook post
  • 21 May - first of three strikes closes the school
  • 28 May - arbitration service Acas brought in to carry out talks
  • June - independent report commissioned by the school and the council
  • July - council places a warning notice on the school that it will apply to the government to remove the governors
  • August - governors appeal against the notice and the decision goes to Ofsted
  • 29 August - Ofsted upholds the warning notice

In the past year, staff at Uplands Junior School have staged three, one-day walkouts over restructuring plans which would see the loss of eight teaching assistants.

In March, staff backed a vote of no confidence in head teacher Tim Luckcock and the chair of governors Abid Matak over the loss of the posts and the way the school was being run.

During the summer, the city council warned governors it would ask education ministers for permission to remove them if the situation did not improve.

At the time, Leicester's Assistant City Mayor for Education and Children's Services, Vi Dempster, said the latest move would "stabilise the school".

In papers submitted to London's High Court for Wednesday's hearing, the governing board's legal team claimed there was insufficient notice given for the withdrawal of the school's budget.

They also claimed Mr Luckcock's suspension was in breach of an "express promise" to consult the board before taking any such step.

Mr Justice Turner said: "I am giving permission to seek judicial review.

"In my view the issue is a very significant one and it cannot be said that the points raised on behalf of the governing board should not have the benefit of full argument and determination by a judicial review hearing."

A full hearing has been set for 27 November.

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