Teacher bullying case costs council £28,000

By Phil Turner | 19/04/2010 0 comments

Teacher bullying case costs council £28,000

EDUCATION chiefs took eight months and spent more than £28,000 on sacking a deputy head teacher for bullying tragic teacher Britt Pilton before she died.

Ms Pilton, a 29-year-old teacher at Rotherham’s High Greave Junior School, who suffered from bulimia, confided to colleagues in the run-up to her death that she was being bullied.

Bride-to-be Ms Pilton, due to marry last summer, collapsed and died at school in March 2009.

An inquest later decided that her eating disorder and stress had been made worse by the issues she was experiencing at work.

The teacher accused of the bullying, Moira Ogilvie (39), was suspended the day after Ms Pilton’s death but was not officially dismissed until November 2009.
Rotherham Borough Council this week said none of the money involved in the case was spent on severance pay for the dismissed teacher.

The overall bill was taken up by the cost of supply teacher cover for the school during the eight months, as well as staff time and “other costs of the investigation.”

An inquest was told that on the day she died some of Ms Pilton’s teaching notes had vanished from a school photocopier.

The incident had left her in a panic and a colleague told the inquest that she believed they had been removed by her tormentor.

Ms Pilton was later discovered collapsed on the floor of the school toilets and died despite desperate attempts to revive her.

Former colleagues also told the inquest that the now sacked teacher had previously bullied other former colleagues to the point at which they chose to resign.

Ms Pilton had confided in them that she feared she was the next in line, the inquest heard.

But friends said her love of teaching and her impending wedding made her continue in her job.

Coroner Nicola Mundy recorded a narrative verdict and said that she had been “dealing with a number of additional pressures in her working environment which led to considerable levels of anxiety over a period of months.”

A spokesman for Rotherham’s Local Education Authority, said this week: “The member of staff involved was suspended as soon as the allegations were made and as we take such allegations very seriously we wanted to investigate them fully.

“Many interviews with staff took place over a period of time and clearly due to the nature of what had happened this needed to be handled sensitively. "

There was a slightly longer than usual period for the necessary disciplinary hearing to be held caused by the non-availability of people involved for various reasons and due to school holidays which could not be avoided.

“We feel the issue was dealt with as quickly as it could be under the circumstances and while ensuring a thorough and fair investigation was carried out.”


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