Rosh Pinah head resigns - governors face 'bullying'

The headteacher of the troubled Rosh Pinah Primary in Edgware resigned this week, the news being conveyed to parents in a brief email the day after Tuesday’s emergency meeting at the school. The note, signed by governors chair Barbara Hotz, was “to let you know that Mr [Anthony] Wolfson has today resigned with immediate effect”. No explanation was given.

Around 300 parents, staff and school leaders were at the meeting, convened to air concerns raised by the parent-led Rosh Pinah Action Group (RPAG) — from pupil behaviour standards to dissatisfaction with Mrs Hotz and fellow governors vice-chair Annette Koslover and chair of the finance committee, Nick Kramer.

There was also disquiet at a lack of communication between governors, teachers and parents, with some parents complaining that they only learned of major school news from their children. The three governors under fire did not attend the meeting. One speaker claimed that the governors had encountered bullying and intimidation.

In a letter to parents last month, Mrs Hotz and the other two governors said 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 Council.

Chris Kiernan, Barnet’s interim education and skills director, who led the meeting, said he would relay the concerns expressed to governors.

A Barnet spokesperson said on Wednesday: “Following a constructive meeting with parents, teachers and governors at Rosh Pinah last night, council officers expressed their commitment to continue to work closely with the governors, the interim head teacher, teachers, support staff and parents to resolve any ongoing issues.”
On Mr Wolfson’s resignation, a Rosh Pinah Action Group member said: “We can’t really comment on anything outside of governance as that is the issue around which our campaign is built.”

Peter Ohrenstein, chairman of the Scopus trust, which appointed the Rosh Pinah governors, explained: “We have unfettered discretion in who we appoint. Unless there are very exceptional circumstances, we are unable to remove them. In relation to the school, we are not involved in the operation or running of it.”

During the two-hour meeting on Tuesday evening, Alison Flegg, the interim headteacher, spoke about raising educational and behavioural standards.

She was afterwards unavailable for comment.

Last updated: 9:45am, July 15 2013