Anger over changes made by Long Lawford school head teacher

A petition was launched calling for a vote of no confidence in the new Long Lawford Primary School head teacher NNL-170720-131709001
A petition was launched calling for a vote of no confidence in the new Long Lawford Primary School head teacher NNL-170720-131709001

A number of parents are angry with changes made by the new Long Lawford Primary School head teacher, with a vote of no confidence petition gaining nearly 200 signatures.

Joanne Murphy is accused of wanting to sack staff living in the village, shuffling staff around and reducing the amount of swimming lessons.

The governors chairman has apparently stepped down as a result and a petition was launched two days ago, quickly gaining supporters and comments criticising the head teacher.

Warwickshire County Council said Ms Murphy is reviewing the school’s priorities, curriculum and finances ‘to ensure the best outcomes for pupils’, and a number of other parents do support her.

One mother who wished to remain anonymous told the Advertiser: “There’s a lot of unrest and a lot of angry parents.

“We all agreed the school needed a shake-up but not quite this much.”

Ms Murphy was appointed as the new head on April 24, tasked with overlooking an expansion of the primary school to three-form entry.

Over recent weeks a number of changes have disgruntled parents.

According to the petition, swimming lessons were cancelled for costing too much, but the county council say it has only been reduced.

A father with two children at the school told the Advertiser he would rather pay towards swimming lessons than have them end.

“I’m very disappointed and very concerned, my main concern is about how this has happened without any discussion with parents,” he said, wishing to remain anonymous.

“Swimming was very useful and I would prefer to pay for their lessons rather than it just stop.

“It seems to be change for change’s sake rather than a considered approach. I’m still hopeful that it will work itself out but I don’t think it will.”

Governors chairman Lisa Haggan has reportedly stepped down from the board over Ms Murphy’s changes and attitude. She has been contacted for comment.

But a letter sent out by governors on Thursday (July 20) outlines their full support for Ms Murphy.

Katy Smith, who’s child goes to the school, said there are a lot of parents who support the head teacher and she criticised the ‘witch-hunt’ against Ms Murphy.

“She’s not perfect and I don’t agree with everything she’s done, but I think she should be given time to make the changes in the right way and be judged on those changes being implemented, rather than criticised the second it happens,” Katy said.

Katy feels the objections to the changes being made are becoming out of hand and may well affect the stability of the school.

A county council spokesman said: “The recently appointed head teacher of Long Lawford Primary School has been reviewing the school’s priorities, curriculum and finances to ensure the best outcomes for pupils.

“The school is committed to ensuring positive academic progress for all children and a review of the overall teaching and learning priorities for the school is underway.

“One element of this is an overall reduction in the time devoted to swimming, to ensure more curriculum time is available for core teaching and learning priorities, including reading, writing and maths.

“Swimming remains on the school timetable, in line with national curriculum requirements.

“Nationally many schools are facing financial pressures and rising costs, the school is therefore also undertaking a review of its finances to ensure a sustainable financial future going forward.

“School governors are working with the headteacher, school staff and the county council to ensure a secure start for all children in September.”