STAFF at a troubled school were criticised for going sick - and warned it would become a sponsored academy if things didn’t improve.

Tempers flared at a meeting between parents and governors at Holt Farm Junior School, Rochford.

It was called to update parents on the situation at the school, which was rocked last term when teachers went on strike in protest of how the school was being run.

Striking teachers weren’t happy with headteacher Hasan Chawdhry who they accused of having an “oppressive” style.

The meeting was chaired by Chris Kiernan, leader of a management team put in place by Essex County Council to work alongside the school’s board of governors.

In a lively meeting, Mr Kiernan revealed if standards did not improve the school was likely to become a sponsored academy - and warned there would be ramifications for staff ‘frivolously’ taking days off sick.

He commented after several parents raised the issue of high sickness levels among staff there.

He warned: “Going on the sick is not the answer long term.

“It is not true that we cannot dismiss someone because they are off sick.

“It is true the school has a higher than average sickness rate, but the local authority will not stand back and let it fester.”