A Birmingham primary school was shut yesterday after 16 teachers called in sick – days after its headteacher was suspended for alleged gross misconduct.
Parents and children arriving at Adderley School in Saltley were told to go back home and telephone this morning to see if it would be reopening.
The mass illness follows the suspension of Kevin McCabe following a meeting of the governing body on Monday.
Both the school and the local authority refused to comment on the nature of the allegations. A receptionist at the school said yesterday: "We have had a severe staff sickness. They have had various different illnesses."
Roger King, general secretary of the Birmingham branch of the National Union of Teachers, said the illnesses could be due to "stress" following a period of instability at the school which until last year was in special measures.
"There have been problems in the past with the governing body which seems to have destabilised the school," he said.
Mr King also questioned the course of action taken by the school’s chair of governors, Sajid Akram.
"The normal action in these cases would be to speak to the headteacher about it and if they felt it was very serious take advice from the local authority," he said.
"This chair of governors hasn’t done that. He has taken an unilateral act of his own back and said it is potential gross misconduct but hasn’t specified why."
The Birmingham branch of the NASUWT teaching union said it looked like there were personal issues involved between the chair of governors and the headteacher.
"We are aware of a number of staff being off sick which is why the school was closed," said John Hemmingway, deputy general of the branch."There is an issue of governance which the local authority are working on with the school to address. It sounds a bit personal with the chair of governors."
Mr Akram was not available for comment last night.
A spokesman for Birmingham City Council said: "The governing body of Adderley School has taken the decision to suspend the headteacher pending the outcome of an investigation into a complaint.
"The suspension is a neutral act whilst the investigation is undertaken."
It is understood that a number of parents held a crisis meeting yesterday after hearing about the school closure.