Sacked headteacher set to take South Tyneside Council to industrial tribunal

A sacked headteacher is set to contest his dismissal at an industrial tribunal.

Tuesday, 14th January 2020, 6:00 am
Former South Tyneside headteacher Stewart Reader is preparing to fight his dismissal at an industrial tribunal.

Stewart Reader, formerly in charge of Dunn Street Primary School, Jarrow, is due to have his case against South Tyneside Council heard later this year.

Tribunal documents state that he was initially dismissed after a disciplinary panel found eight accusations against him to be proven following his suspension.

At an appeal, however, only three were said to be proven with the panel concluding that he should be reinstated.

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Dunn Street Primary School, in Jarrow.

The documents go on to outline how Mr Reader was given his job back, suspended again and then dismissed for a second time.

While full details of the accusations are still to emerge, an outline of the dispute has been published following a preliminary hearing in North Shields.

The documents state that he was employed by the authority from 2001-2019 and add: “Eight accusations were made against the claimant and he was suspended from work.

“After a delay, the panel at a disciplinary hearing found all eight of the accusations to be well founded and summarily dismissed the claimant for gross misconduct.

“On appeal, the appeal panel found that only three of the accusations were well founded and decided that the claimant should be reinstated with reduced sanction of a final written warning.

“The respondent reinstated the claimant and then suspended him again before summoning him to a meeting where he was told, without a further hearing, that he was to be dismissed.

“The respondent relies on those earlier findings to show that the dismissal was for gross misconduct or was for some other substantial reason relating to the breakdown of trust and confidence, the perceived risk

to children, reputational damage and the effect of the suspension on the budget of the school.”

Mr Reader declined to comment when contacted by the Gazette.

While headteacher, the school was graded by education watchdog Ofsted in October 2011 as “good”, the second highest of four categories, with inspectors commenting that “the highly experienced and well-respected headteacher is strongly committed to driving improvement”.

A shorter inspection in 2017 concluded that “the school continues to be good”.

A South Tyneside Council spokeswoman said: “It is inappropriate to comment at this time.”