Suspended primary school headteacher who said teachers 'sat at home doing nothing' defends herself on television

A Sunderland headteacher has defended herself on television after she was suspended for suggesting some of her teachers “sat at home doing nothing” during lockdown.

Monday, 29th June 2020, 4:20 pm

Pauline Wood was suspended from Grange Park Primary School in Monkwearmouth, three days after making the comments during an interview for BBC Radio Newcastle on June 9.

She said that some teachers at the school had been “behaving like petulant kids” and spent “more time watching Netflix” than working from home while schools were closed by coronavirus.

Mrs Wood has said she was suspended by Grange Park's governors and told this was for “bringing the school into disrepute”.

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Pauline Wood (inset) headteacher at Grange Park Primary School in Sunderland has been suspended over comments she made about staff on radio Newcastle.

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Mrs Wood appeared on Channel 5’s Jeremy Vine show on June 29, defending her comments.

She said: “In April and May we had very little to do. That’s why we only had to do one or two days a week, which means for the rest of the time you were free and on full pay.

“You weren’t furloughed. I think we had a very good deal as teachers in our school and the work that we had to do. From June 8 it was three days a week if you were full-time, or pro-rata if you were part-time. To the public and to me we were still getting a really good deal.

Pauline Wood (inset) headteacher at Grange Park Primary School in Sunderland has been suspended over comments she made about staff on radio Newcastle.

“It was a very reasonable request to ask people to come in five days a week, if necessary, and I was only asking for three when they were being paid for five.

“I understand parents and people in other professions who were worried about money and all the rest of it. I can see why they felt a bit hacked off by this.”

Conservative Councillor Josh McKeith has called on the school to reinstate Mrs Wood and highlighted the fact the the school went from an Ofsted rating of “inadequate” in 2007 to “outstanding” by 2011 while she was head.

He said: “Although I see that this comment may have angered some staff, I don't think it warrants a suspension.”

A joint statement from Grange Park Primary School and Sunderland City Council said: “Because of ongoing disciplinary matters it would be inappropriate to comment.”

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