Barnet trying to resolve 'carnage' at Rosh Pinah

Barnet Council has intervened in the dispute at Rosh Pinah Primary in Edgware between a group of parents and leading governors and has called a meeting at the school for Tuesday evening.

Chris Kiernan, the council’s interim education and skills director, has written to parents, inviting them to air “matters of concern”. The Rosh Pinah Action Group (RPAG) of parents handed in a petition last month, which they said had more than 200 signatories, calling for the resignation of governors chair Barbara Hotz, vice-chair Annette Koslover and the chair of the finance committee, Nick Kramer.

They accuse the governors of interference in the running of the school, leading to a “breakdown in trust” between the governing body and the senior leadership team. An interim head, Alison Flegg, arrived last month in the absence of head teacher Anthony Wolfson.

Mr Kiernan said that Ms Flegg and the school’s lead inspector, Chris Brook, would address the meeting about improvements being put in place to “enhance the quality of learning” at the school.

He noted that “although Key Stage Two results remained significantly above the national position in 2012, progress measures for some children dipped and there have been concerns raised by some of you about the standard of pupil behaviour”. Governors had been invited to attend the meeting.

Meanwhile, one governor who supports the RPAG’s demands, Patricia Restan, said that she had been suspended by her fellow governors last week.

Mrs Restan, a former head of senior girls at City of London Girls’ School, described the situation at Rosh Pinah as “carnage — the staff are devastated. It’s just too terrible.”

She was “flabbergasted” at what had happened and did not know on what basis an interim head had been appointed.

“As far as I was aware, the school had developed under Mr Wolfson and this was backed by a Barnet inspector at the beginning of the year,” she said.

An RPAG spokesman welcomed Barnet’s move “to discuss recent changes in the school with parents, although it is unfortunate that this explanation to parents comes after making the changes”. The group remained “disappointed that the governing body shows no signs of listening to parents and improving communication and transparency around how the school is run. We sincerely hope that the governors who choose to attend will address the serious failings of governance at the school.”

In a letter to parents last month, Mrs Hotz and the other two governors rejected calls for their resignation, saying they would remain as long as they enjoyed the confidence of the majority of the governing body, the school’s denominational authority, the Scopus Jewish Educational Trust, and Barnet.

At the end of May, staff wrote to the governors to complain that their efforts on behalf of the children were not being acknowledged by the governors. “The governors have by their actions created this damaging situation and they need to take steps to put it right.”

Last updated: 11:45am, July 8 2013