Parents’ concern as teachers leave Dalston primary school ‘in droves’

Eight permanent staff quit jobs at primary and temp staff boost unusually high turnover

Parents at a Hackney primary school have spoken of their concern after it emerged that teachers were resigning “in droves”.

Shacklewell school in Shacklewell Lane has seen an unusually high turnover of staff since executive headteacher Michelle Thomas took over last September.

Eight of the school’s 17 teachers have left permanent jobs and staff on short-term contracts have also resigned – taking the total to more than 12, parents believe.

Pupils in the reception class have reportedly had four different teachers so far.

Mother-of-two Karen Kennedy said: “My view is that it is teaching by numbers. They want the figures looking good at all costs,” she said.

“In the real world, kids do a lot better in exams and education generally if they have stability in their teaching and there is a good relationship between parents and the school.”

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The 45-year-old, of Barrett’s Grove, criticised the Learning Trust’s response to the anxiety and said some families had moved their children to other schools as a result.

“There certainly has been, for the whole year, a high amount of concern among some of the parents – and I do not think this concern has been properly addressed.”


The upheaval follows attempts to tackle what inspectors called a “legacy of underachievement”.

But Mark Lushington, Hackney’s National Union of Teachers representative, said executive headteachers did not always provide a “supportive model of improvement”.

“They often impose a regime that is perceived to be oppressive, which then causes teachers to leave in droves,” he said.

“The fact that these teachers immediately find a job elsewhere suggests this high turnover is a very wasteful way of trying to improve the school’s performance.”

A spokeswoman for the Learning Trust said a degree of staff turnover was inevitable but that stability would improve from September.

“We are confident that the executive head teacher and governing body will make sure that the school continues to build on the improvements it has achieved,” she said.

Cllr Rita Krishna, Hackney Council’s cabinet member for education, was unavailable to speak to the Gazette directly but said in a statement: “The primary responsibility for the governing body and executive head of the school is to provide children with a good, balanced education as a foundation for a good life.”