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Shock as popular primary school principal suspended

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Fiona Dawson, principal of St Margaret’s Primary School in East Geelong, had her registration suspended by the Victorian Institute of Teaching on May 11.A letter sent to parents at the school says Ms Dawson’s suspension was “in connection to a personal matter unrelated to her role at St Margaret’s Primary School”.A recent school newsletter said Ms Dawson “will be on personal leave for the next two weeks. Please respect Fiona’s privacy as we keep her in our thoughts and prayers”.The letter to parents, sent by Juliette Cox, regional general manager of the Western Region of the Melbourne Archdiocese Catholic Schools, said the school was “not able to make any further comment on this matter”.The letter suggests parents “may consider sharing this news with your child, using language they will understand. Classroom teachers will also share this news with the children tomorrow morning in a sensitive and respectful manner”.“We understand that news like this can affect children in some way. Reactions will vary. If your child requires further support, please let the school know and we will organise counselling as required,” the letter said.St Margaret’s School is one of four primary schools in the parish of St Mary of the Angels in Geelong.In 2020 it went through a school review, guided by the Victorian Registrations and Qualifications Authority.The VRQA required the school take action to ensure it was compliant with Ministerial Order 870 which manages the risk of child abuse. There is no suggestion that Ms Dawson’s suspension is connected to the review.Ms Dawson had only recently replaced Brian Everett as principal.Mrs Rosa O’Beirne will be the acting principal for the school for the remainder of Term 2.



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