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Norwich academy which let its head and two teachers go reassures parents there will be ‘no disruption’

PUBLISHED: 12:43 02 January 2018 | UPDATED: 16:19 02 January 2018

Heartsease Primary Academy. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Heartsease Primary Academy. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Archant

A school which let its head and two teachers go on the last day of term has told parents there will be “no disruption to the education” of pupils.

At the end of December, Heartsease Primary Academy, in Norwich, told headteacher James Julian and two other teachers their contracts would not be renewed.

At the time, the Heart Education Trust, which runs the school, would only say that personnel matters were confidential, and no information was given on whether replacements were in place.

But in a letter to parents and carers, sent before pupils return to school on Thursday, Christina Kenna, chief executive of the trust, confirmed an interim headteacher had been appointed and “no disruption to the education of our pupils will occur”.

She said it was “unfortunate” the board of director’s decision not to renew the three contracts - which were at the end of a six-month probation period - was so close to the end of term, but that, to avoid causing families anxiety over the Christmas break, the school had planned to tell parents before the new year term.

MORE: Head and two teachers reportedly told to leave Norwich academy

The letter said: “The board is delighted to reassure you that Heartsease is fully staffed for the start of the spring term. There will be some changes to class teachers, however these decisions were made by the board entirely based on the interests of the children.”

It said the “highly experienced” Gareth Thomas would take over an interim headteacher, while Mrs Kenna would also preside over the running of the school.

Other teachers will move to different classes to cover the gaps, it said, with a former teacher also set to return. Another four full-time specialist teachers will be employed.

The letter said: “The trust took the decision in line with almost every industry and business sector to include a probation clause into the contracts of new staff that join. As many of you will be aware from working yourself, this gives both the employer and the employee the opportunity to be certain that the workplace is the right environment for all parties.”

The use of probation periods had been criticised by the Norfolk branch of the National Education Union, which said teachers were already subject to “continuous and rigorous scrutiny”.

The school, which had 525 pupils as of May, was rated outstanding by Ofsted in May last year.

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