Swinford school board resigns in head teacher redundancy row

Swinford protest
Image caption An action group set up by parents and carers questioned the legality of the redundancy consultation process

Members of a school trust's board have resigned amid a row over a head teacher's position.

Swinford Primary School's head Edy O'Connor faces being made redundant by the Diocese of Leicester Academies Trust (DLAT).

All six non-executive directors of the trust have now left suddenly.

The Bishop of Leicester, the Right Reverend Martyn Snow, said it had been an "extraordinarily challenging time" for both the school and the diocese.

Campaigners who have criticised the trust's handling of Mr O'Connor's redundancy said they were "not surprised".

The resignations come after Bishop Snow called for a meeting with the board about the situation at the school.

Mr O'Connor was handed his redundancy notice earlier this month after DLAT, which runs 14 schools across Leicestershire, proposed appointing an "executive head" to oversee two schools as part of "some very difficult and challenging decisions".

Image copyright @Saveourhead
Image caption Campaigners accused DLAT of not putting the interests of the children first

Kat Clarke, chairwoman of the Save Our Head campaign, said they had "questioned the legality of the consultation process" put in place by the non-executive directors.

"We will now be looking for action from the Bishop and the Leicester Diocesan Board of Education (DBE) to halt the redundancy as a matter of urgency and allow for an independent review of the processes undertaken," she said.

"We've got extremely grave concerns as to what happens next and how the trust is going to be managed in the immediate future."

As well as protests the group wrote to the Regional Schools Commissioner expressing their wish to part with the trust.

South Leicestershire MP Alberto Costa also said he would raise the issue of the trust's "very poor conduct" in the Commons.

Bishop Snow said he had tried to advise DLAT on decisions and listening to the community.

He said given the "disappointing developments" he would now work with them to appoint new non-executive directors.

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