Fair to dismiss teacher for not disclosing tie with sex offender?

  • Insight

20 July 2016

A v B & C

The Court of Appeal has ruled that it was fair for a primary school to dismiss a head teacher who had consciously decided not to inform her school of the fact that she had a close relationship with a convicted sex offender.

What was the misconduct?

The Head Teacher was dismissed for gross misconduct for failing to disclose her close relationship with an individual who had been convicted of making indecent images of children. The relationship fell somewhere between a financial relationship and a close personal relationship.

The Head Teacher was fully aware of the extent of the charges against the individual. She had fully considered (and made enquiries into) whether she was under a duty to disclose the circumstances to the teaching governing body. She concluded that no such duty existed.

What was the decision?

The court decided that if she had been acting reasonably, she would have realised that there was at least the potential for risk to pupils in the circumstances; she should have informed the governing body in order to allow it to make an assessment of the potential risk, and to put measures in place if necessary. 

The court decided that as the employee had chosen not to inform her employer and thereafter had refused to accept at any stage in the proceedings that she had made an error in doing so, it was reasonable for the school to dismiss her for gross misconduct.

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Further information

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