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Apology to parents kept in the dark after governing body at Cobholm Primary in Great Yarmouth was removed

PUBLISHED: 09:00 27 March 2014

Cobholm Primary school Headteacher Julie Risby, who is currently on sick leave

Cobholm Primary school Headteacher Julie Risby, who is currently on sick leave

Archant Norfolk Photographic © 2010

Parents at a primary school in special measures were not told for nearly a month that its governors had been removed and replaced with an interim executive board.

The chairman of the IEB said she was sorry parents at Cobholm Primary School in Great Yarmouth were not told until March 20 about the changes to the governing body, which happened on February 24.

Ofsted has returned to the school three times since it was put in special measures last April, and after its last visit in February it said the school was not making enough progress.

Headteacher Julie Risby has since gone on sick leave, and Karen Winter, substantive deputy headteacher of Norwich Road Academy in Thetford, has taken over as temporary head.

Stephen Pullinger, a parent and former chair of governors, said he was shocked it took so long for parents to be told about the new governing body, and one parent who had tried to contact governors about disruption at the school had been unable to make contact.

Fiona McDiarmid, IEB chair, said: “We realise we should have contacted parents sooner about the appointment of an IEB at the school and would like to apologise for not doing so. However, we are fully committed to turning Cobholm Primary around and with the support of parents, pupils and with a new temporary headteacher in place, we believe we can achieve this.

“We have written to parents to let them know our door is open, should they need to discuss any concerns they may have. As far as I am aware, at no point has any member of staff refused a request to speak to us.”

Norfolk County Council said it appointed the new governing body with the agreement of its predecessor, but Tony Wright, former governor and former Great Yarmouth MP, said: “We had no option. We could have delayed it but clearly everything was in place and governors took the view it would have been useless to object.”

Two of the three members of the IEB work for Norfolk County Council, but the council said the board was independent.

Is the council right? Email martin.george@archant.co.uk

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