A long-serving Ilfracombe Infants and Nursery School governor has said she was suspended for bringing a get-well card into school and speaking to parents at a nativity play.

Iris Watson has broken silence to give her version of events facing the crisis hit school since a proposal was lodged to separate it from its federation with Goodleigh Primary.

And now a last minute open meeting about breaking away from the federation has been called for Tuesday, February 12.

The meeting is at St Peter’s Church in Highfield Road at 7pm and will be chaired by Ilfracombe mayor Val Gates.

It will give parents the chance to find out more about the proposal to ‘defederate’ in advance of the decision being made by the remaining 10 Goodleigh governors and one Ilfracombe governor on Friday, February 15.

The infant school was plunged into turmoil after three Ilfracombe-based governors put forward a proposal to separate the two schools, which are run by a shared headteacher, Claire Grant.

It was announced yesterday (Thursday) that Ilfracombe governors Geoff Tonkin, Andy Bradley and Irene Watson had been suspended for six months for ‘acting in a way that is inconsistent with the ethos of the federation’.

The federation has not said if they are the same governors as those who proposed the split.

Iris Watson has posted a detailed statement to parents on social media, saying at a meeting on Monday (February 4) that the trio had been collectively and individually accused of bringing the school into disrepute.

She write: “My personal accusation was that I had brought a get well card into the school for parents to sign, if they wished, for a long-standing and much loved teacher who has since left due to ill health.

“I was suspended for failing to ask permission to do this and of using the Nativity play as a means of getting to the parents.

“For such a weak example of misconduct to have been successful in securing my suspension, suggests a constructive move to silence me because I had expressed serious concerns about the current running of our school.

“I will not comment on the accusations levelled at Geoff and Andy. I’m sure they can speak for themselves. However, I will say that their accusations were of similar frailty and that they have only ever done their best for the school.

“As the suspension is now public, and the governors named on the school website, I am not breaching confidentiality by telling you who we are. As for not supporting the federation, this is totally untrue.

“When we federated with Goodleigh I fully supported the move and looked forward to real co-operation. I was hopeful that it would prove to be a happy and fruitful relationship for both schools. Sadly, it has proven not to be.

“Many federations work successfully and happily across the schools involved. Fair representation of BOTH schools being at the centre of success.”

The meeting details were posted by Andy Bradley, he said: “This will give a chance for everyone to listen to evidence and be able to question those involved in the decision to defederate or not. “Understandably people are uncertain as they have only been able to rely upon a very brief comment on the bottom of a newsletter and only when given evidence can they make a truly informed choice on the future of the school.”

Parents have been asked to submit their views about splitting from the federation by emailing email clerk@goodilf.org.uk or handing them in at the Ilfracombe reception desk.