Calls for headteacher to be suspended as government investigates Barking primary school

Eastbury Primary School in Barking

Eastbury Primary School in Barking - Credit: Archant

Some parents are demanding the suspension of an acting headteacher while the government investigates a number of “serious allegations” against her primary school.

A petition calling for Carole Thomas to step aside has been launched by families worried about the Department for Education’s (DfE) probe into unspecified complaints against Eastbury Primary School in Barking.

The school, in Dawson Avenue, has been rocked by a series of accusations by “whistle-blowers” and was investigated by the DfE last year following allegations pupils were told about the questions of their Standard Assessment Tests (SATs) in advance. But teachers were cleared of any wrongdoing in March.

The petition, launched on Friday, has gathered 15 signatures so far and follows a 97-strong previous petition sent to education minister Michael Gove two months ago demanding an investigation into the running of the school under Ms Thomas.

“We are calling for her suspension at the very least,” said petition leader and carer Monie Wright, 62, of Merton Road, Dagenham. “This petition was created because the parents weren’t happy with what was going on.

“The parents don’t want this –the school was the borough’s flagship, but it has turned to absolute chaos.”

A DfE spokesman confirmed the department is investigating “serious allegations”.

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A spokesman for Barking and Dagenham Council said only a small number of parents had expressed concerns about Ms Thomas.

He added: “All complaints received by the local authority are investigated. A number of anonymous whistle-blowing complaints have been received and all the investigations completed following these have found no case to answer. The council and the school are co-operating fully with the DfE to support its investigation of the latest allegations.”

Ms Thomas was unavailable to comment.