Headteacher at centre of staffing investigation

A headteacher is under investigation after formal complaints from staff at a secondary school.

Vivien Swaida, head of Barnwell School in Stevenage - the largest secondary in the town - is at the centre of several allegations made by teachers concerning “staffing issues”.

Julie Ashley-Wren, chairman of the board of governors which is investigating the claims, said: “The board has been contacted by staff about some internal staffing issues. We take these matters very seriously and will be working with staff to resolve these.”

A spokesman for Herts County Council, the body with overall responsibility for education in the county, said the authority was working closely with governors on the issue.

She said: “The governors are responsible for investigating any formal complaints against staff employed at the school. We have been made aware by the chair of governors of a number of issues that we will be supporting the governors to resolve.”

Ms Swaida, a former head of Harrow High School, took over Barnwell in 2009 and during her short tenure has overhauled the management structure.

She employed Maggie Kalnins, a former headteacher who resigned from an east London girls’ comprehensive amid financial concerns and strikes against redundancies, as an education consultant, and created a raft of senior positions. Management at the school now includes two deputy heads, an associate deputy headteacher and 12 assistant headteachers.

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Ms Swaida is currently on long-term sick leave from the school.

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