Parents will remain in the dark for the timebeing after the council refused to divulge a report into school management that led to the suspension of a headteacher.
Anne Winstrom was suspended on full pay from June 10 by the governors of Whitchurch First School and Nursery in Wemborough Road, Stanmore, after they had the results of Harrow Council internal audit explained to them.
Governors resigned, leaving the governing body unworkable and forcing the council to seek to establish an interim executive board as a replacement.
Only the remaining two parent governors, three staff governors and chairwoman Councillor Camilla Bath (Conservative) got to read the audit report, which has prompted a full council investigation.
getwestlondon submitted a Freedom of Information request for a copy of the confidential report, believing it would shed some light on goings-on, but was refused by the council.
Isabella Ogo-Uzodike, the council’s hub manager for children, families and community health and wellbeing, said: “There is a very strong public interest in the protection of confidential sources to ensure that these sources are not deterred from proving information during investigations and that those who may be guilty of impropriety are held accountable.
“There is a public interest in public accountability and transparency but there is a greater public interest in investigations into alleged impropriety being fair, and being conducted out of the public spotlight.
“Making the council’s draft findings public, while another external investigation into the same matters is on-going, would be prejudicial to the on-going legal and investigatory process.
“Therefore I am satisfied that the public interest in maintaining this exemption exceeds the public interest in disclosure at this time.”
getwestlondon asked for an internal review of the council’s decision but lawyers upheld the non-disclosure.
Michael Baxter has been appointed as interim head teacher and wrote to parents two days after Mrs Winstrom’s suspension, and Ms Bath declined to comment.
A source said: “It will be a matter of weeks before the investigation is concluded.
“However, we are confident that it will be concluded before pupils return for the start of the next school year.”
Mrs Winstrom was described as “an excellent role model” by Ofsted when it rated the school ‘Outstanding’ seven years ago.