Police speak to demonstrating parents at George Eliot School
Published: 24 July, 2014
By WILLIAM McLENNAN
POLICE were called to an award-winning primary school to disperse a crowd of angry parents demanding to know why the headteacher has been absent for more than two weeks.
Last week, it was revealed that George Eliot head Beatrix Simpson was not at the school while “preliminary inquiries” are carried out.
But frustration boiled over outside the school gates in Marlborough Hill, Swiss Cottage, on Monday morning as parents faced an uncertain six-week summer holiday with no answers as to what the inquiry relates to or when, if at all, Ms Simpson would return.
Frustrations were focused on the school governing body and Westminster Council, which failed to tell parents about the inquiry until it was revealed by the New Journal last week.
The council said the school would be appointing an independent body to carry out the inquiry, but again refused to say what it would be investigating.
Contacted by the New Journal yesterday (Wednesday), chairwoman of governors Elaine El-Essawy said she could not comment, but sent a letter to parents on Friday denying what she described as a “malicious rumour” that Ms Simpson was arrested in school and escorted off the premises by police.
Around 30 parents assembled outside the school reception on Monday to try to get answers from staff.
Parent Fadumo Addow said: “They have to respect us. We are parents and we have to know what is going on. Tomorrow is the last day of school.
“We’ll then have six weeks without knowing what’s happening at our school. Everybody is very angry. ”
Foutik Daukha, who was waiting to pick up his son, said: “As parents, it’s our right to know the reason she’s not here. They said she went for a course, but there’s no courses.”
Police arrived shortly afterwards as parents waited outside the school gates on a public road and agreed that three “spokesmen” could enter the school. They emerged 15 minutes later with confirmation that inquiries were still under way.
Westminster police confirmed they sent officers “following a report regarding a large number of parents that had entered the school”.
A Westminster Council spokesman said: “The teacher is not in school while preliminary inquiries are made. We cannot comment any further at this time.”