Concerns over ‘exodus’ of staff and pupils from Welwyn school

AN ‘exodus’ of teachers and pupils at a Welwyn school is the result of the “alienation” of parents, it has been claimed.

Hertfordshire County Council has received several complaints about the turnover of teaching staff and pupils at Oaklands Primary School, in Great North Road, Welwyn.

This week the council admitted 36 children had been taken out of the school and 17 teaching staff had also left since 2009.

One parent, who is thinking of taking her child out of the school, told the WHT: “They just alienate parents – we’re not allowed on the playground or to go to school events.

“It’s such a shame for a lovely local school.

“I don’t want to move but I don’t really see what alternatives there are.”

She also claimed some classes were down to just nine pupils.

Most Read

“There are a lot of dissatisfied parents around,” she added.

And another mum, who has removed her child from the school, said it was like a “prison camp”, as parents bade farewell to their children on one side of the gates, unable to accompany them inside.

The woman, who launched a petition against the school’s stance, added: “I’m trying to fight for a school that I went to, that’s why it means so much to me.”

A county council spokeswoman confirmed “a small number of complaints” had been received by the authority.

And they “centre around the number of children leaving the school and the rate of staff turnover”.

She added: “While there has been a reduction in children attending the school in recent years (36 fewer pupils), the current infant classes are well subscribed.

“Since September 2009, 17 teaching staff have left the school.

“Of these, seven gave no reason for leaving while others left because they were retiring, had been offered jobs elsewhere or their temporary contract ended.

“We continue to monitor the situation at the school and will respond accordingly.”

Headteacher Julia Hume issued a statement which failed to address concerns over pupil and staff turnover.

It read: “I’m pleased with the continued progress made during my tenure as head and I’m confident Oaklands Primary School has a bright future ahead.

“Our last Ofsted report from September 2011 rated the school as ‘good’ and praised ‘incisive leadership that has united staff’.”

She also said recent surveys of parents had been positive.