Primary school headteacher is suspended for claiming some staff were ‘sat at home doing nothing during’ lockdown
- Pauline Wood from Grange Park in Sunderland under investigation for comments
- The head teacher blasted some teachers for not pulling their weight during crisis
- Some teachers had ‘refused to work on site for three days a week, instead of two’
- Mrs Wood suspended by governors who told her it had ‘raised serious concerns’
Pauline Wood, from Grange Park in Sunderland, is under investigation for the comments she made on a BBC radio station
A primary school headteacher has been suspended for claiming some staff were ‘sat at home doing nothing during’ lockdown.
Pauline Wood, from Grange Park in Sunderland, is under investigation for the comments she made on a local BBC radio station.
Mrs Wood, who spearheaded the school’s ascent up the Ofsted grading system from ‘inadequate’ to ‘outstanding, blasted some teachers for not pulling their weight while others came up with ‘imaginative things’ during their time off.
She told BBC Radio Newcastle: ‘Some teachers are coming up with the most imaginative, amazing things and other people do sit at home doing nothing. I won’t defend those people.’
She later added: ‘Some teachers have been in [schools], but many have not been in at any time. Safety is paramount, but don’t make out teachers have all been working flat out.’
She said it included people from her school, adding: ‘I think it’s time we talked about the elephant in the room.’
The BBC interviewer praised Mrs Wood for ‘her honesty’ which he described as ‘very refreshing’.
Some staff had reportedly refused to work on site for three days a week – instead of two – citing problems getting childcare cover.
She blasted some teachers at the school (pictured) for not pulling their weight while others came up with ‘imaginative things’ during their time off
It came as primary schools tentatively allowed pupils in reception, year one and year six back to class from June 1.
Mrs Wood has been at Grange Park for 15 years and has been praised for her ‘relentless’ pursuit of ‘excellence’ in recent Ofsted reports.
She was credited with overseeing an extremely positive impact on pupils’ outcomes’ and saw the school shortlisted for a prestigious TES award in 2012.
The head teacher said she did not know who had nominated the school for the award, but said she was thrilled.
She told the Sunderland Echo at the time: ‘The letter came as a fantastic surprise for us, the staff are absolutely buzzing about it.
‘It was enough to be only one of three outstanding primary schools in Sunderland, but to be recognised nationally is even better.’
She added: ‘When you think of the area we are in, we don’t get everything handed to us. We have to fight really hard for everything we get so this is wonderful.’
Grange Park, which is in one of the most deprived areas in the country and has 226 pupils, now sits in the top two per cent for phonics and maths at key stage two level nationally.
Mrs Wood was suspended by governors who told her the radio interview had ‘raised serious concerns about your professional conduct and judgement… which potentially brings the school into disrepute’.
But the academic – who was due to leave the school in September – hit back, telling Schools Week she was concerned her ‘truthful answer’ got her suspended and found it ‘disheartening’.
General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders Geoff Barton said head teachers can ‘give their perspective and insight to the public via the media’.
He added general advice to workers is for them to have three key messages for the interviews and to be helped by someone when they prepare.
Chair of Grange Park school governors Mary Hodgson said she could not comment on personal circumstances as it would be a ‘breach of confidentiality’.
Mrs Wood was working out her notice period at the primary school and a job advert was posted for her position in February.
It offered applicants a salary of between £57,986 – £67,183 a year for the permanent role, starting from September 1.