Troubled Rosh Pinah hires interim head

An interim head has been installed at the troubled Rosh Pinah Primary School in Edgware amid a continuing rift between leading governors and many parents.

Alison Flegg, a qualified Ofsted inspector, arrived at the school this week — on “a temporary basis”, parents were told — in the wake of the absence of headteacher Anthony Wolfson.

But there was no sign of rapprochement between senior governors and a group of parents known as the Rosh Pinah Action Group, who have urged them to resign.

The group, which includes former governors, says it has mustered more than 200 signatories for a petition calling for the resignation of governors chair Barbara Hotz, deputy chair Annette Koslover and finance committee head Nick Kramer.

The group claims that the three governors have removed or are planning to remove their own children from Rosh Pinah, representing a “vote of no confidence” in the school.

They also allege a “breakdown in relationship” between governors and the school’s senior leadership team, lack of transparency on the part of the governing body and interference by governors in the running of the school.
Mrs Hotz was unavailable. Mrs Koslover said that the governors would not comment.

Last week, the three governors wrote to parents rejecting allegations made by the action group and also by staff.

They said that as long as they enjoyed the support of the school’s denominational body, the Scopus Jewish Educational Trust, the local authority, Barnet, and the majority of governors, they would remain “dedicated to carrying out the obligations that have been entrusted to us”. They were aware of issues relating to “the school’s academic performance, the overall governance of the school and the relationship between the governing body and the senior teaching staff”.

These were, they wrote, “matters for the leadership of the school and have not been helped by the fact that our headteacher has recently been unable to fulfil many of his responsibilities due to ill health.”
Scopus chairman Peter Ohrenstein also wrote to parents last week to reiterate its “full confidence” in the governing body.

But a spokesman for the action group said this week that “no one can seem to remove” Mrs Hotz and the two other named governors. “We have a complete lack of faith and confidence in what they are doing and want them to step down.”

However, one mother who backs the governors said that when her child experienced problems at the school, it was only their intervention that brought a satisfactory resolution. “They acted professionally, confidentially and promptly,” she said.

Meanwhile, Mrs Flegg wrote to parents on Wednesday to say that she had come across “several incidents involving children in physical disputes initiated by provocative actions”.

She hoped this was “unusual” for the school, but it had prompted her to review policy on children’s behaviour.
“In the meantime, parents of children who conduct themselves in this manner will be contacted and informed of the need to collect their child from school immediately,” she wrote. “There will be a discussion between the headteacher, parent and child the following morning in order to address the issue.”

Last updated: 10:45am, June 17 2013