Thursday, 05 August 2021

Dismissal claim thrown out by tribunal

A TEACHER who claimed she was forced to resign has had her claim for constructive dismissal thrown out.

Rachel Ashley quit as housemother at the Oratory School in Woodcote in September 2012, claiming her concerns about the behaviour of pupils at the independent boys’ Catholic school were not taken seriously.

She claimed that one pupil filmed himself killing animals and that an attack on another boy was “covered up”.

The school denied the allegations during a tribunal in Reading last month where headmaster Clive Dytor and deputy head Tom Hennessy gave evidence.

In a statement, Michael Hasslacher, chairman of governors, said: “The tribunal was satisfied that the school acted at all times by taking professional decisions which were in the best interests of the welfare of young people in its care.

“The judgment confirmed that the school’s child protection responsibilities are taken very seriously.”

Mrs Ashley, from Finchampstead, told the tribunal that she resigned because she thought the first boy, who had been found hunting with a bow and arrow, would be returning after the summer holidays. The boy was suspended and later left the school.

Mrs Ashley said she was also concerned about how the school had handled the attack on the second boy, who was beaten with slippers and belts on the school cricket pitch by three other pupils.

She claimed that when she expressed her concerns to Mr Dytor and Mr Hennessy, she was not taken seriously and was told “boys will be boys”.

Mr Dytor said he decided not to tell the parents of Boy B about the attack after the pupil himself asked him not to because he was “embarrassed”.

He said Mrs Ashley became quiet and aggressive after deciding to leave the school and refused to talk to him. “I tried a number of times in corridors to say hello and she was always very rude and hostile,” he said.

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