Vote of no confidence in Miss Joanne Murphy, Headteacher at Long Lawford Primary
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On 24th April 2017 our village school, Long Lawford Primary welcomed a new headteacher in Miss Joanne Murphy.
She came with big promises, to transform the school for the better; increasing pupil attainment/achievement, improving the [currently failing] SEN provision & opening up lots of avenues for extra curricular activities, to name a few points from her welcome assemblies. Alongside this, she promised to work collaboratively with parents & would be a regular, friendly face in the playgrounds.
Unfortunately, she is clearly just someone who interviews & presents herself very well. As very little of her promises have come true.
She has come into the school like a wrecking ball. Systemically destroying the collaborative community environment it once was.
Examples of recent "necessary changes" she has made her include (but are not exhaustive of);
• Cancelling swimming lessons. The school has provided swimming lessons as part of the curriculum, for as long as people can remember. A charity, The Boughton Leigh Foundation have been contributing half of cost to support this, with the school footing the remainder of the bill from it's annual budget. Our previous headteacher & those before him shared the belief that owing to the proximity of the large weir & ford in the village, teaching village children the life-skill of swimming was a vital cost. Miss Murphy has taken the decision to cancel the swimming with effect of this term, citing her desire to save £36000 of costs including staffing?! (TA's & parent volunteers accompany the children!) by doing this. Parents are in uproar, there are many low-income, disadvantaged families in our village, who simply will not be able to swim now. Not to mention single parent families legally unable to take more than one child swimming owing to the RLSS of 1:1 supervision for all under 8's.
• Pupils at the school have previously enjoyed a gradual transition into their new year groups in the last week of the school term. This allowed a smooth change of environment, staff etc for each pupil & especially those with additional needs (of whom Joanne recognised there were a high number when she started) Yet this is another thing that she decided to simply axe, this time with no explanation at all. This drastic change of routine left a lot of vulnerable young children very upset & anxious about coming to school. Many parents reported difficult behaviours/high anxiety in their children surrounding this time.
• Staff re-shuffle. Presumably in an attempt to really make her mark on the school, Miss Murphy has changed the majority of teachers to classes in the school. Just because she can. Our outstanding, experienced nursery teacher, the most kind & gentle, nurturing teacher, has been pulled from nursery & moved to reception. To be replaced by a young NQT... Other successful teachers have been moved around. All teachers were informed of their new classes via email, late on a Friday evening, with one working days notice.
• She has been quoted as saying she plans to make redundant 11 of the school's 15 TA's who live in the village. She's never worked anywhere before where the staff all live so locally & it "unsettles" her.. She would rather the posts were filled with candidates from outside the village.
These examples alone are causing much anger amongst parents of the school.
We just want what is best for our children & the chance to be involved in decisions made.
We hope WCC will listen to our concerns, ideally holding a consultation with us & take leadership in the matter to plan a way forward in the best interests of the welfare of our children.
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