December 8 2013 Latest news:
Thursday, October 10, 2013
A headteacher with no formal teaching qualifications has left her job at a free school in Pimlico just weeks after it opened.
Annaliese Briggs is leaving “to pursue other opportunities within primary education”, a notice to parents on Pimlico Primary’s website said, the school has already appointed a new principal.
Ms Briggs, who used to work on education reform and the curriculum for the Civitas think tank and studied English at Queen Mary, University of London, was controversially appointed as head of the central London school in March.
It is believed that at the time she had no formal teaching qualifications, but spent time working in primary schools in Wandsworth through a school-centred teacher training scheme before taking up the role.
Pimlico Primary, which began admitting pupils for the first time last month, is sponsored by Future, a charity set up by Lord Nash - a minister in the Department for Education - and his wife Caroline.
A message on the school’s website from Dr J J Saxton, director of education at Future Academies, said Ms Briggs will become a governor at the school.
He said: “I am writing to let you know that having successfully set up and opened Pimlico Primary, Annaliese Briggs has decided to leave Future Academies to pursue other opportunities within primary education.
The new principal, who Dr Saxton said has more than 10 years experience in early education and leadership, is as yet unnamed but apparently known to parents and pupils.
One unnamed teacher told the Guardian that he was surprised that such an inexperienced candidate had been selected for the job, suggesting it had been too much to learn too quickly.
The school and Lord Nash initially did not confirm that Ms Briggs has left her post, the Guardian reported.
Lord Nash told the newspaper that his relationship with her remained “perfectly friendly” but declined to comment further.
Pimlico Primary is one of the government’s flagship free schools, opening for four and five-year-olds - those in the reception year - for the first time last month.
Under the flagship initiative, free schools are allowed to recruit staff who do not have qualified teacher status (QTS)
Last year, this was extended to allow all academies to hire unqualified teachers.
Ministers said the move would mean schools can hire staff who are experts in their field - such as scientists, engineers, musicians and linguists - but who have not taught in state schools before and do not have QTS.