Committee upholds complaint Hackney head bullied pupil, also physically manhandled by teacher

A headteacher at De Beauvoir Primary School in Tottenham Road bullied one of his pupils, reducing him to tears, while another teacher physically manhandled the same child, a committee heard.

The complaints about staff at De Beauvoir School, in Tottenham Road, where three members of the management team simultaneously quit last summer, were upheld by an independent panel in February.

The accusations were made by Karlo Smith about the “despicable” treatment of his wife and son, including a senior staff member allegedly telling Mrs Smith: “Be careful, we can ruin lives”.

Mr Smith is seeking legal advice after being told that all files relating to his son’s time at the school have gone missing.

He claimed the trouble started when he complained about children’s lives being put at risk when they were left to cross a road unattended.

In a letter to the Learning Trust’s Independent Parental Complaints Panel, he said he received threatening and deliberate accusatory letters and “rather than deal with this, the senior management resort to bullying and intimidating tactics designed to force the parents and children out of the school by creating a deliberate hostile, unfriendly environment and atmosphere.”


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He added: “Not only has there been a lack of professionalism shown, the inability for the senior management team to deal with it has been astounding.”

After considering the available evidence, the panel said that they would uphold the complaints.

Last May, headteacher Vijay Bhanaut, deputy Tanya Spain and an assistant head teacher, Malcolm Shaw, resigned.

In their ruling, the panel said risk assessment procedures and complaints were not properly investigated at the school.

Lisa Neidich, chairman of the panel, said: “There were a number of outstanding safeguarding issues which should have been investigated under the safeguarding procedures. The ex-headteacher failed to follow those procedures or consult with the Learning Trust on actions to be taken and reporting requirements.

“As the ex-head teacher no longer works at the school, he did not attend the complaint hearing to clarify why proper procedures were not followed, or the ex-chair of governors.”

Sarah Bailey, head teacher of Queensbridge School in Haggerston, stepped in as executive head in September, and an Ofsted inspection two months later found the school was “good”.