Search

Teachers forced to quit after headteacher “bullied” them

07:10 27 April 2012

Parents and children outside Wilberforce Primary School

Parents and children outside Wilberforce Primary School

Archant

A Queen’s Park headteacher – who saw 11 staff leave within three months of joining a school – bullied teachers and caused them to become ill, according to an independent investigator.

Michael Larkin took over as interim headteacher of Wilberforce Primary School last September, but saw the majority of staff – who had been at the school for a combined total of 57 years – leave by the end of his first term.

Teachers claimed Mr Larkin made them carry out menial labour, work 13-hour days and set unachievable targets which resulted in a number of them taking sick leave due to stress.

An independent investigating officer, appointed by the school’s governors, looked at the teachers’ 17 allegations and upheld 16 of them.

Speaking about teacher Jasmine Ramkeeson’s complaints, the officer’s report states: “I uphold the allegation that the way Ms Ramkeeson was managed amounted to bullying and that this impacted on her health. I accept Ms Ramkeeson’s contention that the way the headteacher acted made her position impossible.”

The independent officer also said that Mr Larkin’s methods of serving Ms Ramkeeson with a ‘notice to improve’ made her “feel she was targeted” and was “unduly harsh and punitive”.

The officer confirmed allegations of bullying from other teachers, which he said were responsible for “subsequent ill-health”, and that teachers were asked to carry out “clearing, filing and cleaning” as well as “loading skips” for up to nine days at a time.

Westminster Teachers’ Association secretary Michael Parker, who is supporting four teachers at the employments tribunals, said: “We want to ensure that this man does not have the opportunity to do this to anybody else again, because we don’t think he is fit to manage teachers.

“Some headteachers can be heavy-handed but this is so far off the scale.”

Mr Parker also claims the General Teaching Council (GTC) said Mr Larkin is not registered with them, although the GTC was unable to confirm this.

Speaking on behalf of the headteacher, Westminster children’s boss, Cllr Nickie Aiken, said: “We take seriously any complaints brought by staff in our schools and support appropriate investigation processes before reaching any conclusions.

“Four members of staff from Wilberforce have made tribunal claims, but those procedures are not yet properly complete and it would be inappropriate for us to offer any view until they are more thoroughly investigated and finalised.”

She added that Wilberforce had been a school “with falling standards” which has made progress since Mr Larkin’s appointment.

1 comment

  • It is difficult to agree with Cllr Nickie Aiken - who states that the school has made progress under the management of Michael Larkin, when in fact as a result of their latest Ofsted inspection, Wilberforce has been put 'on notice to improve'. This is indeed a huge drop in standards since the previous inspection in 2008 when the school was judged to be 'good' with several features of outstanding provision. How can it be claimed that the school has improved?

    Report this comment

    icequeendebby

    Saturday, April 28, 2012

Latest News Stories

11:42
Collision: A BMW crashed into a Mini in Belsize Lane

A driver lost control of his BMW this morning and crashed into three cars in Belsize Village.

10:45
A man reportedly threatening to jump from Archway Bridge was talked down by police last night. Picture: Polly Hancock

A man who had climbed onto Archway Bridge and was threatening to jump was talked down by police last night.

08:00
Tulip Siddiq, Labour parliamentary candidate for Hampstead and Kilburn. Picture: Nigel Sutton.

With six weeks left until polling day, the Ham&High series is preparing for one of the tightest general elections in decades – and we want you to get involved.

11:20
Viaduct Bridge on Hampstead Heath

The body of a man found hanged at the viaduct bridge on Hampstead Heath was today being formally identified.

Most read news

Property Newsletter Sign-up

The latest North London property news and features straight into your inbox.

Other Emails:
Fields marked with a * are mandatory
Email Marketing by e-shot

Here’s how the 2015 general election battle officially got under way.

Not checking Autofill on email meant passport numbers of world leaders were sent to the wrong person.

What happens if there’s an international crisis? Are all MPs now unemployed? And can the Prime Minister still tie any successor’s hands?

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Hampstead & Highgate Express e-edition today E-edition
Family Notices 24


Our trusted business finder