Fears mount at Welwyn Garden City primary school after 18 teachers leave

Springmead Primary School

Springmead Primary School - Credit: Archant

A Welwyn Garden City school has lost more than half its teachers since the start of the last academic year, sparking parental fears that standards are slipping.

Eighteen teachers have left or handed in their notice at Springmead Primary School in the last 15 months, compared to 19 in the previous five years combined, a Freedom of Information request has revealed.

It has also emerged that there have been 24 pupil exclusions since September 2015 – 14 of those coming in the last three months – compared to 18 in the previous five academic years.

However, headteacher Jennifer Moles said “significant progress” has been made in the last year, adding robust procedures were now in place to enable pupils to fulfil their potential.

One parent, who wished to remain anonymous, told the WHT she thought standards had slipped.

“The reputation was very good and it has been destroyed in a year,” she said.

“It was a very good little school that we were very happy with, and now obviously we have concerns about it.

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“It’s the staff turnover, the fact that the children are leaving, and I feel the parents aren’t being communicated to.”

Another parent said: “There are a lot of children issues which aren’t being dealt with correctly.

“There are children who have behaviour issues who are being punished for that, rather than having their behaviour modified with action and humanity.”

It follows an Ofsted report last July that found Miss Moles’ relationship with the board of governors “collapsed because of poor communication by both parties”, before the entire body resigned.

Miss Moles, who took over at the school in September 2015, said: “Since September [this year], one teacher has left and another will leave at Christmas.

“We have had 14 pupil exclusions, some of which were from our primary support base for pupils who have behavioural difficulties.

“The majority of these pupils missed less than a day.”

She said the well-being of pupils was of “paramount importance”, and stressed the Ofsted inspection found safeguarding was effective, the school had made good progress in implementing recommendations, and pupils’ academic standard remained good.

Senior staff and the interim governing body are working closely to move the school forwards, Miss Moles added.