Former Head Teacher Alleges Council Is ‘Pursuing’ Him

Former head teacher Bryce Wilby

Former head teacher Bryce Wilby

The former head teacher of the Five Islands School has alleged that the Council is trying to get him barred from teaching.

Bryce Wilby claims the Council of the Isles of Scilly is continuing to pursue him and will not allow him to move on with his new life. It’s almost a year since he was suspended and subsequently resigned from his position at the school, following allegations of financial impropriety.

An audit report compiled by Cornwall Council was due to be made public in February but withheld at the eleventh hour after My Wilby successfully blocked its release.

He has secured a full-time position at a school in London, but alleges that the Council has referred his case to the National College of Teaching and Leadership and recommend that they hold a public hearing into his suitability to remain as a teacher.

He claims that many of the councillors do not know that this action has been launched.

Bryce says he’s not sure why he has been referred, as he says none of the evidence put forward meets the required criteria, but believes the Council is taking the view that, “the best form of defence is offence.”

He says he has lodged 27 complaints with the Department for Education, Information Commissioner’s Office and the Local Government Ombudsman, against the Council and named individuals.

He’s waiting for these to conclude but says he’ll then be able to use their reports in legal proceedings if necessary. He says he’s taking his complaints to the ‘highest level’ and is being helped by his new MP, Tessa Jowell.

In the meantime, Bryce says he and wife Maria are leading a ‘double life’, both holding down full time jobs and then working evenings and weekends to compile their paperwork.

Bryce says it’s useful to have new councillors and a new Chief Executive in Scilly who can effectively deal with his complaints.

And he says as soon as the new councillors are sworn in, then these actions are effectively being taken in their name. They need to stand up and question what is happening, he says.

Last week, Maria Wilby wrote to newly elected members to bring them up to speed on what has happened since the couple left the islands last September.

Councillors we spoke to said they couldn’t comment on the matter as it’s subject to legal process.

However, one new member raised the prospect of the “horrendous” budget implications of the legal costs, which could dwarf the Council’s overspend. And he thought it was an issue that Full Council should discuss at the earliest opportunity.

We asked the Council last Thursday to confirm if Mr Wilby’s case had been referred to the National College of Teaching and Leadership and who authorised it. We also asked if the Local Government Ombudsman was investigating the Council for breaches of confidentiality.

Yesterday, Director of Finance and Human Resources, Peter Lawrence-Roberts, said the Council “is not available for comment at this time.”

13 Responses to Former Head Teacher Alleges Council Is ‘Pursuing’ Him

  1. Mark Prebble May 15, 2013 at 5:50 am

    Factual errors such as mistaking the Cornwall Council audit department’s report into allegations of financial wrongdoings at the school for The Department for Education’s report into poor governance and interference with due process at the school might show that you are a bit slow out of the trap here or perhaps chasing the wrong rabbit.

  2. Sarah May 14, 2013 at 11:41 pm

    Im sure those 27 people know who they are If they have done nothing wrong they dont need to worry ! Please Senior council officers stop harassing the Wilbys and get on with the jobs that you are paid by us to do .I agree with Nobby the Wilbys have my full support .

  3. Terence May 14, 2013 at 11:35 pm

    Is Radio Scilly simply a platform for the Wilbys to blather on about how badly they think they’ve been treated? The Council and its Officers can’t refute or even comment on Mr Wilby’s assertions, yet the station allows him the luxury of airing his grievances, knowing that they will stand unopposed. This man was suspended from his post, but rather than fight to prove his perceived innocence threw in the towel very quickly and ran away. He has opposed publication of the Auditors’ Report at every opportunity, implying that he is scared of its findings. I think he should spare us his regular sermons, fight his case in the courts or other regulatory bodies and accept the findings. In the meantime it would be a relief if the local radio station stuck to reporting news and not serving the publicly needs of the Wilbys.

    • Kev Wright May 15, 2013 at 11:00 am

      *Yawn* We’ve been through this before. Radio Scilly is constantly trying to get a response from the council who conveniently have no one available to comment on almost every occasion. I think the willingness of one party to discuss matters openly and of another to shun every attempt given to them tells its own story on this one.

      How many times have we read on here that the council wouldn’t comment on matters or that a freedom of information request has been ignored? There’s still plenty of foul play going on with our council. Hopefully the new elected members will put a stop to this once things get moving again.

  4. Grey Hound May 14, 2013 at 5:33 pm

    Methinks Mr Wilby doth protest too much. 27 complaints sounds an awful lot like desperation. If there was nothing in it, there’s no way the council would pursue it. He must have done something which only a few people know about and has been kept confidential.

    • Diane Cidade May 14, 2013 at 6:50 pm

      You seem to be forgetting something…

      Given the allegations in the DfE report that education law had been breached on a number of occasions, I don’t find 27 complaints (potentially covering dozens of people)to 3 different bodies an awful lot. Well, actually it IS awful, but not necessarily a difficult number to reach given the way things were gravely mishandled. Allegedly.

    • Nobby Nobbs May 14, 2013 at 7:26 pm

      Perhaps some senior officers of the council have been mud slinging without the knowledge of the councillors.
      This is one of the oldest tricks in the book, sling enough mud about and some of it will probably stick, as proved by your belief that the council must be in the right.
      I think you will find as far as the Wilby’s are concerned this is more to do with clearing their name than anything else; you must remember that they are not the only people who have found themselves in this position under the old regime.

      As to the confidentiality issue, I think you’ll find that is more to do with protecting the council by keeping the actions of certain personal out of the public domain.

      Once the DFE report is issued, then we should all be a lot wiser.

      • Grey Hound May 14, 2013 at 10:16 pm

        Oh! The report that was blocked by Mr Wilby!

        • Diane Cidade May 15, 2013 at 7:32 am

          No, not that report at all.

          The DfE report into the school was ‘leaked’ in its draft stage to Scilly Today, and you can find the information from that draft in the link I’ve posted above. It alleges that there were several occasions when Mr Wilby’s suspension was dealt with unlawfully. School governors were given the opportunity to reply, and the report is expected to be published very soon, contrary to your impression that Mr Wilby has blocked the publication of a report performed by a body of the central government.

          What you’re probably thinking of is the audit report performed by Cornwall Council (who have much closer links to our council than, say, the DfE). If you read the reports in the media at the time, the audit was full of flaws and downright unprofessional. The whole operation had been wound up at one point without even allowing Mr Wilby the opportunity to reply to his allegations and present his own evidence that would counter their claims. The Council knew that publishing such a document would make them (even more) vulnerable to legal prosecution.

          To use your words, if there was nothing in it, there’s no way Mr Wilby would pursue.

        • Nobby Nobbs May 15, 2013 at 7:37 am

          No, it was the ‘Cornwall CC’ report that was blocked, by the Wilby’s due to the way they feel they investigation had been carried out. I guess the judge who issued the ban agreed with them.

          The DFE report on the other hand is a a completely different report that reaches a more accurate conclusion of events.
          This report has been seen by some members of the council and governors, However , it is the council who have kept this report out of the public domain so far.

          This report will be made public some time soon, in fact I believe the Wilby’s are using the DFE report as part of their defence as it is rather damming of the ios council.

          Please get your facts right, otherwise you end up perpetuation rumour and speculation

  5. Todd Stevens May 14, 2013 at 5:30 pm

    I rather suspect that the person who instigated this saga is now advising those they dragged into it also; They should think more clearly before taking that advise. Anyone found to have been “persuing” this man should be persued themslves and sacked from thier posts.

    • Nobby Nobbs May 14, 2013 at 7:31 pm

      As should the new crop of councillors who will be responsible for the actions of their senior officers.

  6. Nobby Nobbs May 14, 2013 at 12:57 pm

    I fully support the Wilby’s who have been treated absolutely appallingly by some senior officers within the ios council.