Parents defend current leadership at embattled Hitchin primary school

Our Lady Catholic Primary School in Hitchin. Picture: Danny Loo

Our Lady Catholic Primary School in Hitchin. Picture: Danny Loo - Credit: Archant

Some parents have leapt to the defence of the current leadership at a Hitchin primary school where historical assessment issues were found.

An investigation uncovered “significant concerns” over assessment, testing and reporting of pupil progress in past years at Our Lady Catholic Primary School – and the Comet, which understands teachers have been suspended, has been contacted by several families seeking answers about what is going on.

But since the Comet reported on the situation yesterday on the front page of the Hitchin edition, other parents have got in touch to defend the school – saying most families are happy with the way headteacher Ciara Nicholson is steering the school through this difficult time.

“It’s only a small minority of parents with a grievance,” said one.

“The kids are thriving since Mrs Nicholson joined, they’re very happy. The supply teachers are really nice and the majority of parents support the school.

“This group of parents are just determined to destroy what’s left of the school. They’re not thinking of the school – they must have their own personal agenda.

“It’s getting too aggressive. It’s almost like a vigilante.”

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Another parent said: “It’s a real shame. I couldn’t believe a parent has said we’re in chaos.”

A third added: “I think the problem is that people speak out more when they have negative things to say.”

Such comments are in stark contrast to what the Comet has been told by other parents, one of whom said: “Some children have had seven teachers in a few weeks. We are in chaos at the moment and it is the young children who are suffering.”

The Diocese of Westminster Academy Trust, of which Our Lady is part, has said the probe came about after concerns were raised by Stevenage’s John Henry Newman School, among others, querying an apparent gulf between grades achieved by Our Lady pupils and their ability once they moved up to secondary education.

Trust chair Kate Griffin has written to parents to say that “appropriate action has been taken, but for legal reasons, at this stage I cannot share the details with you”.

She said the trust expected the next stage of the process to be over by Easter, and that she then intended to meet parents with the support of Mrs Nicholson and chair of governors Neil Adams.

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