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THE ex chair of governors at a troubled Rochford school has spoken out to defend himself and his colleagues.

The spat between the NUT union, the head teacher Hasan Chawdhry and the former governors at Holt Farm Junior School continues.

It came to a head last term when NUT members went on strike over the “oppressive style” of Mr Chawdhry.

Further strikes were called off when Essex County Council stepped in and removed some delegated powers from the governing body.

Dave Jenkinson, who was chair of the governing body until resigning with his colleagues earlier this month, said they had tried working to improve working relations at the school.

The county council has now assumed governorship until a new board can be appointed.

Mr Jenkinson said: “In November last year Mr Glazier gave the governors an ultimatum, suspend the headteacher or face strike action. There was no negotiation to be had, we offered to employ the services of ACAS but this offer was rejected.

“The governors sought advice and were informed that there were no grounds for a suspension and to do so would contravene employment law.

“The governors tried desperately hard to forge new working relationships but this was almost always a one way street. It is highly unfair for the blame to be placed on the shoulders of the now ex governing body.”

He also strongly refuted that he had made allegations about staff going off sick deliberately. In fact Mr Jenkinson had not written this in any letter.

He added: “In my opinion any person who organises a picket line in front of a school where children younger than five years old are going to be walking past does not have the concern of those children at the top of their agenda. “

Jerry Glazier, from the NUT, responded: “It was important to get the coverage and put pressure on the local authority to make changes. A physical presence was a demonstration of people willing to stand up and be counted.”

He added the union felt there was no point involving ACAS last year.

Mr Glazier said: ”We wanted the intervention of the local authority as we felt the governing body didn’t have the capabilities or skills to resolve the issues with the management of the school. This is evident from the action of the authority who removed delegation from them.”

The school is awaiting publication of a recent Ofsted inspection believed to show worsening standards.

The headteacher Mr Chawdhry did not return our calls.