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Head suspended in probe into fixing exam results
A HEADTEACHER has been suspended, days before her retirement, after allegedly fiddling her pupils’ test results.
Ros Ferdinand, headteacher at Porters Grange Primary School, in Lancaster Gardens, Southend, has been placed on indefinite gardening leave.
A senior council official has confirmed governors have launched an investigation following allegations she falsified the school’s exam results.
Jane Theadom, Southend Council’s head of school support and preventative services, said: “The governing body at Porters Grange took a decision to suspend the headteacher, pending the outcome of an independent investigation into the administrative running of the school.
“Suspension is a neutral act, used to enable an investigation to proceed fairly and impartially.”
Mrs Ferdinand’s suspension comes the week before she was due to retire.
The headteacher planned to stand down from her role at the end of the academic year next Friday.
She has proved a controversial figure since taking over at Porters Grange, clashing several times with council chiefs over plans to expand the school.
In 2010, Mrs Ferdinand joined forces with Samantha Richardson, the chairman of governors, to fight plans to expand Porters Grange’s annual intake from 60 pupils to 90.
The battle was renewed last year and again this year, with the council eventually agreeing to allow the number of new children to remain at 60 in September.
A parent whose seven-year-old son attends the school, who did not want to be named, said: “I think it’s a shock to most people.
“She was always respected, and I’ve always thought the school has been very well-run.
“I’m not sure what will happen now.”
It is not clear how long Mrs Ferdinand will remain suspended or when the governors’ investigation into her conduct is likely to finish.
In the meantime, the school will be run by assistant headteacher Karen Smith and other senior staff.
Ms Theadom said: “Additional support is being provided to the staff to ensure any resulting disruption is kept to a minimum, and that the education of the young people attending the school is not affected while the investigation is ongoing.”
When the Echo called at Mrs Ferdinand’s home, her husband said she did not want to comment.