Part-time head hit by governor suspension

2nd March 2001 at 00:00
THE headteacher who won the right to return to work part-time has been suspended by governors as parents refused to send children to her school.

Earlier this month Rebekah Marshall and Devon County Council reached agreement over her return to Langtree primary, near Torrington.

The three-day-a-week compromise, which averted the threat of a pound;100,000 compensation claim, came nearly six months after an employment tribunal found the LEA guilty of sexual discrimination in turning down her request to work part-time after the birth of her fourth child.

But at a meeting days before her return, parents said that the 80-pupil school had fared better under the acting head Helen Mellody.

Governors objected to her return saying that the school - which went on to special measures while she was on maternity leave -required "clear leadership by a single postholder".

Mrs Marshall was at school on Monday for a training day but governors suspended her. School was deserted the next day as a result of the parental boycott.

An LEA spokesman said a breakdown in confidence sparked the governors' decision and the parents' action: "An investigation will now be held into the basis of the breakdown," he added.

The National Association of Head Teachers, which represents Mrs Marshall, said the governing body and LEA had never intended to make the arrangement work.

The NAHT has rejected an invitation for Mrs Marshall to attend a meeting of governors and the LEA.

Kerry George, NAHT senior assistant secretary, said: "We will question whether governors have followed proper procedures in suspending Mrs Marshall."

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