Tuesday, 23 November 2010

"Unfair dismissal" case launched by ex-head of Henry Fawcett School

The ex-head teacher of Henry Fawcett Primary School, James Walker, has launched a constructive unfair dismissal case against Lambeth Council and the school's executive board. 

Mr Walker was in charge of the Henry Fawcett school from September '99 until February '08, when he was diagnosed with cancer and underwent two operations.  Seven months later, (September '08), he returned to work, only to be suspended in November '08 due to an allegation made by a staff member (which was unrelated to the school's educational standards or financial management).  Following the suspension, he submitted a disability discrimination claim against Lambeth Council.

During his suspension, in July '09, Lambeth Council dismissed 12 governors from Henry Fawcett.  Kate Hoey said to the Evening Standard at the time, "I feel that [Mr Walker] has not been treated in a way that would generally be considered to be justified and when the governors supported him, they got rid of them."

In September '09, whilst Mr Walker had been absent from the school, an Ofsted inspection was undertaken, and the school was considered to be failing.  Henry Fawcett was immediately placed in special measures (but has more recently had these removed).

Mr Walker claimed to have "management concerns" in the school, prior to his sick-leave which were "dismissed", but these were later raised with him upon his return to work.  He resigned recently (September '10), but has now launched a constructive unfair dismissal claim which means that a resignation has occured because an employment contract has theoretically been substantially breached

It would be useful to have a little more insider information on this matter.  It is, however, worth noting, that Kate Hoey MP has backed James Walker, which potentially demonstrates the existence of an injustice at some stage.


Peter said...

I have to strongly disagree. It would NOT be helpful to have further insider information on this matter.

It is in a legal process that should be allowed to work out, without (inevitably) one-sided comments and rumour-mongering from the side lines.

I have no knowledge of this case at all, but am linked to another Lambeth School. And I'm well aware of how unhelpful a public commentary can be in cases of disputed dismissal.

It seems that all parties are getting proper legal advice now, so wish for a speedy resolution and leave it be.

SE11 Lurker said...

Point taken. I felt merely that re-reporting this piece of news from the associated press bulletin lacked imagination.

I'd really like to report news from and about schools in a more creative manner.

Anonymous said...

yes se11, i agree with you, this blog should be about what is really going on and this relies on information, not self censorship and "leaving it be" - this school , its parents and pupils and potential parents and pupils have a right to know how and why the school was allowed to fail.

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