Upper Clapton teachers quit en masse as ‘failing’ head resigns

Parents have hit out at education chiefs after the shock resignation of a much-loved headteacher who turned around their primary school.

Staff, children and families were in tears on Friday afternoon when it emerged Gary Boyd was stepping down as head of Southwold Primary School, in Detmold Road, Upper Clapton, with immediate affect.

Bosses from the Learning Trust stepped in – freezing the governing body’s powers and ensuring Mr Boyd’s replacement –to tackle what they described as “some of the lowest reading and Key Stage Two results in Hackney”.


But between six and 13 of the school’s 25 teachers have reportedly resigned in response.

And parents said Mr Boyd was “very well-respected” and described the action as “appalling”.

Southwold was deemed to be failing by Ofsted inspectors in 2006 but was rated “good” in 2010 under Mr Boyd’s leadership.

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Cecilia Peries, who has two children in Year 2 and 4, said: “From the point of view of the parents, the school was doing a great job at keeping the children motivated and that’s far more important than exam results.

“The amount of disruption this is going to cause to the children in the middle of the term is heartbreaking.”

“The way this has been done just beggars belief,” said mum-of-two Alice Westlake.

And Louisa Cliff, who has a child in Year 3, said: “We are just not getting any answers from anyone.

“There is a terrible atmosphere at the school and the situation has been handled appallingly.”

Staff from Orchard Primary School, Holcroft Road, have taken over leadership and there will be a meeting on Tuesday.

A Learning Trust spokesman said: “Whenever we intervene at poorly performing schools, parents are invariably taken by surprise as they are not always aware of the inadequacies across a school.

“We’ve monitored the situation for some time and issued warnings to the governing body but a lack of a credible school improvement strategy has forced us to take action.

“We are confident that there will now be rapid improvements – the children at Southwold deserve nothing less.”