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Worcester parents demand answers over Perry Wood academy concerns
6:00am Wednesday 18th December 2013 in News
A WORCESTER school has been accused of putting its “shutters down” after parents said the headteacher had been absent without explanation for about two weeks.
Concerned parents have contacted your Worcester News to say they had been left in the dark about why headteacher Ange Beddow had not been seen at Perry Wood Primary School, in St Alban’s Close, which is now run as an academy.
Liz Lewis, the chief executive of the Griffin Schools Trust, which runs the academy, confirmed Mrs Beddows was still the school’s head but said she could not comment further.
The trust did not respond to further calls to find out why Mrs Beddows had not been at work but confirmed the school had been closed on Monday because of problems with a boiler.
Meanwhile, Worcestershire County Council said the school’s academy status meant they were not obliged to inform them of any changes, while the Department for Education said it was for the school to comment.
Speaking from her home, Mrs Beddow also said she did not wish to comment. The management team at Perry Wood also declined to speak.
However, parents and families with children attending the school have spoken out.
One concerned parent said the head’s absence had been kept “hush-hush” and there had been no letter from the school to explain why she was been missing.
She said the head had not attended the Christmas fair or the school’s nativity play.
And a worried grandmother told your Worcester News she was concerned about the effect it was having on children at the school.
“No one is saying anything,” she said. “We’re not being told what’s going on. And when they’re teaching our children, we have a right to know.
“We’re hearing things on the grapevine, which is never healthy.
“It’s ridiculous we’ve got to go to a newspaper to try and find out what’s going on with the children.
“When we ask directly, it’s ‘shutters down’, as soon as you ask anything about what’s going on.
“Being a small school, what people don’t know, they will make up, especially when you can’t get a direct answer to a direct question. That’s bound to happen.
“It seems that something’s not right there and we want to know what’s going on, or we will consider moving the kids.”
The school became an academy in December last year when it was transferred to the Griffin Schools Trust.
It was on the brink of becoming the first school in the country to have been forced into becoming an academy after it was put into special measures in November 2010.
However Mrs Beddow, along with deputy Kay Butler, had been praised by Ofsted inspectors for being “determined and resolute” in their bid to improve performance after it was taken out of the measures last year.
Worcestershire County Council said as soon as a school became an academy it was no longer answerable to the Local Education Authority (LEA). The Department of Education also said it was up to the school to comment.
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