Leicester

Swinford head teacher move protest backed by MP

Protest march
Image caption Parents staged a protest march in Swinford in defence of head teacher Edy O'Connor

A school dispute which has seen protests by parents and pupils is to be raised in Parliament by an MP.

The head of Swinford Primary School, Edy O'Connor, is facing being made redundant by the Diocese of Leicester Academies Trust (DLAT).

It wants to appoint an "executive head" to oversee it and another school.

South Leicestershire MP Alberto Costa said he will highlight the trust's "very poor conduct" and raise the issue with the Education Secretary.

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Media captionChildren protest against head teacher losing his job

The school joined the DLAT in 2017 and the leadership plans were put forward in September 2018 as part of a new "business model".

This provoked immediate opposition and last month about 250 parents and children staged a protest on the streets of Swinford.

They described Mr O'Connor, who joined the school in 2012, as "much-loved and highly respected" and said moving him would be a "massive loss".

Protest organisers welcomed Mr Costa's move on Twitter.

In a statement, Mr Costa said he and the Bishop of Leicester had met with DLAT and understood it would be "strongly considering" pausing its plans.

He said: "I am extremely disappointed with the way DLAT have conducted themselves and this process; there has been very little in the way of communication with parents, and they have now ignored all outside advice."

A spokesman for DLAT said Mr O'Connor was still in post and a leaving date had not been finalised, but said it had to make "some very difficult and challenging decisions".

"The challenges and pressures that such schools are facing at the moment are unprecedented," they said.

"These are not decisions that we take lightly, or in isolation."

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