Government investigates “serious allegations” at Eastbury Primary School in Barking

Serious allegations are being investigated by the Department for Education at Eastbury Primary School. Barking.

Serious allegations are being investigated by the Department for Education at Eastbury Primary School. Barking. - Credit: Archant

A primary school rocked by a series of complaints by whistle-blowers is once again under investigation by the government following a number of “serious allegations”.

“We are currently considering a number of serious allegations regarding Eastbury Primary School in Barking and Dagenham,” a spokesman for the Department for Education (DfE) said, adding: “It would be inappropriate to comment further at this stage.”

The school, in Dawson Avenue, Barking, was investigated for cheating by the DfE’s Standards and Testing Agency 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.

A Barking and Dagenham Council spokesman said: “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 cooperating fully with the DfE to support its investigation of the latest allegations.”

Some 97 parents have signed a petition sent to Education Secretary Michael Gove calling for an investigation into the school.

A number have also called for the resignation of headteacher Carole Thomas following a heated meeting last Friday between parents and teachers.

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The council spokesman said: “A relatively small number of parents have expressed concerns about the acting head, whereas a number of other parents have expressed full confidence in her.”

He pointed out inspectors from education watchdog Ofsted visited the school in September and praised the quality of Ms Thomas’ leadership. The school’s overall rating was “requires improvement”.

Parents and school teachers, including Ms Thomas, attended a meeting last Friday about the latest government investigation, and a meeting is now due to be held with the school governors.

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