Teacher dismissed from Westoe Crown Primary School, South Shields after having an affair with the father of a pupil

Ann Brenen was dismissed from Westoe Crown Primary School in South Shields after having “inappropriate” relationships with parents, one of which was sexual, an employment tribunal heard.

Wednesday, 5th August 2020, 2:47 pm

Mrs Brenen was dismissed by the South Shields school in January 2018, where she was one of the “Leaders of Learning”, after colleagues raised concerns over her “inappropriate” relationships with parents between 2016 and 2017.

The complaints centred around the parents of four pupils, who were referred to as D, E, F and G in the tribunal document.

The tribunal had also heard that Mrs Brenen had “threatened” one of her colleagues and asked other teachers to mark homework for her.

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Ann Brenen was dismissed from Westoe Crown Primary School in South Shields at the start of 2018 for having "inappropriate" relationships with parents.
Ann Brenen was dismissed from Westoe Crown Primary School in South Shields at the start of 2018 for having "inappropriate" relationships with parents.

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Shared information with pupil’s father

The mother of pupil D raised concerns that Mrs Brenen was sharing information about her child to pupil D’s father, despite them not being in contact with him.

The teacher acknowledged in the employment tribunal that this was inappropriate.

Sexual relationship

In 2016, Mrs Brenen was found to have been involved in a short sexual relationship with the father of pupil F, something she denied to the headteacher during the disciplinary and appeal process.

One of the teachers at the school said she saw Mrs Brenen’s car parked outside of the pupil F’s father’s house one morning and when she asked her about it, Ann implied that the relationship was sexual.

She also “threatened” another teacher who commented on the relationship by highlighting that she would be their line manager the following year – Mrs Brenen said she was not acting rationally at that time.

Reported parent for harrassment

She later reported the father to police for harassment but still allowed him to go on a school trip as a parent helper.

A number of teachers at the school said they had seen the father in the classroom with Mrs Brenen on “several occasions” and that “she seemed to spend a lot of time talking to him” – Mrs Brenen said that her “judgement was impaired”.

The tribunal’s findings

Mrs Brenen filed a claim for unfair dismissal and disability discrimination on the grounds that she suffers from depression.

The tribunal findings said: "The claimant was in a senior role at the school. She was a teacher and, as such, is expected to maintain certain standards of behaviour and maintain appropriate boundaries with parents, which she failed to do.

"As we found that the claimant's conduct amounted to gross misconduct, we find that the respondent was entitled to dismiss the claimant without notice."

South Tyneside Council, the education authority for Westoe Crown Primary School, declined to comment on the matter.

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