London: A headteacher who left her school amid allegations of pupils cheating in national tests has forced governors to take her back - to the fury of parents.

Neena Virdi, head of Yeading Infant School near Uxbridge, is preparing to resume her role for the first time since November 2005 when she was signed off sick. This followed an investigation into the "ridiculously high" marks in that year's English, Maths and Science tests taken by seven-year-olds.

Virdi was alleged to have given children the correct answers to questions they had got wrong.

Parents claim her return could destabilise the school and a protest petition launched on Monday has already garnered 80 signatures.

Acting head to stay back

They claim the governors who launched disciplinary proceedings against Virdi will not be able to work with her and want acting head Rupinder Ahluwalia to remain in place.

Instead, Ahluwalia will stay on as "executive head" for 12 months, overseeing Virdi as she settles back in, Hillingdon council said.

In a letter to parents, Chris Spencer, Hillingdon's director of education, said Virdi had successfully appealed to an independent panel against the governors' decision to discipline her before she went off sick.

Although the decision was upheld, "after hearing mitigating circumstances, the panel decided to reduce the sanction ... and reinstate Virdi", he said.

It was alleged that shortly after children sat the tests in May 2005, Virdi called as many as 40 out of 60 seven-year-olds out of classes and gave them the correct answers to questions they had got wrong.

One parent said: "There are rumours that things have been Tippexed out and the right answers put in the children's hands. I spoke to other parents and they said their kids had said similar things.

No consultations

A parent who helped organise the petition, said: "There has been no consultation with parents. We have had no explanation of the charges. I don't know how anyone keeps a job after that. My second beef is that the school shouldn't have to fund two headteachers for the next year. People send their children to school based on these results. If you didn't know otherwise, you would be thinking your child was doing well when really they weren't."

A spokeswoman for the exams watchdog, the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority, said there was "an issue" with the school's 2005 test results, but pointed out it was Hillingdon council that investigated.