Former Head Teacher Taking Legal Action

Bryce Wilby

The former head teacher of the Five Islands School has confirmed that he is taking legal action against the Council for unfair dismissal. Bryce Wilby alleges the Council has breached his contract.

At Thursday’s Full Council meeting, director of financial Peter Lawrence-Roberts stated that Mr Wilby left the authority’s employment at the end of August.

However, earlier in the month, in a closed-door meeting, education director Penny Penn-Howard told members that Mr Wilby had offered to leave at the end of August but the Council could not accept terms for shortening his notice.

Bryce confirmed this, saying he did make an offer to shorten his notice period, but claims the Council wrote back and rejected it, as they didn’t agree his terms.

He says he’s still employed until New Year’s Eve and, as the Council didn’t pay his salary last week, he can start the legal action.

Bryce rejects suggestions that he should let things lie and just move on, saying he tried to draw a line under the matter but the Council wouldn’t agree to that.

He says, “They’ve persisted in hounding me and making it difficult.”

We’re awaiting a response from the Council

The Department for Education also confirmed on Friday that it is conducting an investigation into the situation at the Five Islands School.

They say they are not able to comment in detail at this stage but a spokeswoman confirmed that the school remains under the control of the governing body. They haven’t explained whether their findings will be made public or given information on the timeline for the investigation.


13 Responses to Former Head Teacher Taking Legal Action

  1. Stavropol October 8, 2012 at 9:28 am

    Robin seems to be confused. His argument is poorly researched and out of touch with reality. If you got suspended from your job, excluded from talking to people on the islands, what would you do? Your reputation by the mere fact, is shot, you have no aids in which to confide, what would you do?
    I would suggest Mr Wilby has done the smart thing obviously taking good legal advice, unlike the council.
    The accusations made and process employed by the council officers has opened them up to litigation whether Mr Wilby is guilty or not.
    I’m not convinced Mr Wilby was right for the islands post but the officers employed a quite incorrect excuse to remove him.

  2. Mary October 4, 2012 at 3:46 pm

    Robin’s insinuation that the Headmaster left
    “a well paid job, a lovely house, lifestyle and status” simply to be able to claim a lucrative pay off, appalls me and I am sure many others who know that one of the reasons he left was because others were being treated badly because they saw that the dismissal was flawed in the extreme.

  3. Lawrence Upton October 4, 2012 at 1:27 pm

    I expect that in due course we shall know from Mr Wilby why he has done what he has done; and why others have done as they have done.
    Nothing much in this matter is clear at present.
    Often things that are held to be clear (and “obvious” is sometimes claimed) rarely are. When they are shown not to be clear or obvious by the publicity of new information, it is normal to hear “well I didn’t know that”. No indeed.
    In this case, if Robin’s opinion is found to be ill-founded, I am sure that he will apologise fulsomely. On the other hand, if he is found to be correct, I for one shall be seeking lessons in abnormal perception.
    In the meantime, his tone is inappropriate to say the very least

  4. Tiffany Aching October 4, 2012 at 1:01 pm

    Robin, you state…
    I wish those camapigning for him would simply wait for the investigation to be completed and published, and then decide if his anguished pleas of innocence are indeed well founded.

    The same could be said of you when you go on to say things like…
    Is it because the charges against him are certain to be proved and angling for a lucrative pay off is a better option than fighting for his reputation?

    Which is hardly a non partisan statement is it!
    Innocent until proven guilty
    So why why don’t YOU wait until the DFE’s investigation is complete before making prejudiced comments, just like you wish others would do, or is it a case of do as I say not as I do?

  5. Robin October 3, 2012 at 11:46 pm

    People can disagree with me as much as they like. What is clear is that Mr Wiby wasn’t dismissed, he resigned. If he felt that he’d done “nothing wrong” as he contested, why give up so quickly a well paid job, a lovely house, lifestyle and status? Is it because the charges against him are certain to be proved and angling for a lucrative pay off is a better option than fighting for his reputation? The Council has simply suspended an employee because of serious allegations of misconduct, something that we would expect it to do. The man has not chosen to speak to his accusers, he has set out certain demands to go quietly and still people act as though he’s some sort of martyr. I wish those camapigning for him would simply wait for the investigation to be completed and published, and then decide if his anguished pleas of innocence are indeed well founded.

    • Diane Cidade October 4, 2012 at 2:11 pm

      The people campaigning for Mr. Wilby, you might find, are in fact Mr. Wilby, his wife, and whatever legal/union representatives working with him. I don’t need to campaign for Mr. Wilby. He seems to be an intelligent person, and like you say, persistent. What I will campaign for, however, is that things are dealt with appropriately and that Mr. Wilby gets a fair ‘trial’, if you like. I would do the same for anyone. Their guilt or innocence is absolutely irrelevant. I am waiting until the investigations are done and published to fully form my opinions, but there is too much which has obviously gone wrong so far, that it’s difficult to sit back and watch comments like yours fly around like they’re somehow any more valid than the opinions they contest! So far, we’ve had a trial by innuendo (mostly due to the ham-fisted nature of the Council’s approach to press releases and media interviews), and I most certainly will continue disagreeing with people with viewpoints like yours, because they threaten the honesty and fairness that proceedings like these deserve.

      I’m not sure what you mean by “The man has not chosen to speak to his accusers”. Where is YOUR evidence? And what allows you to say things have been done ‘simply’ one way or another?

  6. Fred Colon October 3, 2012 at 9:35 pm

    I too disagree with Robin and agree with Diane and Lawrence.
    Innocent until proven guilty and so far Mr Wilby has done nothing wrong, apart from trying to balance the schools accounts and wrest control from the council.

    The way Mr Wilby has been treated by his employer and had his reputation smeared is absolutely appalling.
    Councillor Pearson keeps banging on about safe guarding issues when there IS no issue as no issue has been proven.
    I don’t blame Mr Wilby for taking legal action, if my employer had treated me in the same abysmal way, I too would sue the pants off them.

  7. Lawrence Upton October 3, 2012 at 4:21 pm

    I disagree, strongly, with Robin and agree with Diane.
    None of us is in a position to know what the man believes. None of us is in a position to tell him what to do.
    I don’t think it is appropriate for any doubt to be cast on his honesty and credibility, no matter how indirectly, while the accusations and implicit counter accusations are unresolved.

  8. Robin October 2, 2012 at 10:53 pm

    Mr Wiby is nothing if not persistent. He is threatening litigation on technicalities not the substance of his suspension. If he really wanted to fight against unfair dismissal he would have waited until the evidence of ‘financial irregularities’ was made public and then instruct his lawyers. If he really believed in his innocence, he would have fought, stood his ground and still be here. Instead he resigned within weeks and disappeared. I wonder what terms he demanded to go quietly?

    • Diane Cidade October 3, 2012 at 8:50 am

      Since when is your employer not paying your contracted wages a ‘technicality’? That’s a pretty fundamental part of being employed – you get paid.

      The other side of your coin, of course, is this:

      His suspension was a ‘neutral act’, but anyone can see how toxic this whole situation, and indeed in many ways this community, has become. The proverbial ‘point of no return’ was reached a long time ago, I’d say, and I’d add that I feel you’re possibly confusing admission of guilt with self-preservation, dignity, and self-respect.

  9. Todd Stevens October 1, 2012 at 6:48 pm

    This saga has been very damaging to this community; damaging to the teachers as well as the head teacher. To the Governors and Councillors alike. Respect for our council as a whole has suffered also. It was totally out of control. The Officers who engineered this saga should go. Anyone with a shred of decency would have resigned by now.

  10. Stuart October 1, 2012 at 12:25 pm

    It will be interesting to view the Cornwall cc report alongside the DFE’s report to see how closely they match.
    And it does make one wonder if the school will be taken out of council control “again” at some stage.

    I wish Mr Wilby every success with is legal action and if his action proves successful then perhaps those at the council responsible should pick up the tab rather than the tax payer

  11. Stavropol October 1, 2012 at 11:52 am

    The end game begins. Mr Wilby verses the Council Cheif Officers persuasive and compelling pitch to the school governors, as leaked to Scilly Today. Who will win? I have my money on Mr Wilby. When he wins I know where my finger will be pointing. I wonder if the Council Officers will be brave enough to cover the bill?

    As for the DFE investigation, you can bet your bottom dollar it won’t be out until Mr Wilby has won his court case. If heads haven’t rolled before then, I’m sure they will when it is released.