Former School Head To Sue Council

Former head teacher Bryce Wilby

Former head teacher Bryce Wilby

The former head teacher of the Five Islands School says he will begin legal action against the Council before the end of the school holidays.

Bryce Wilby alleges that the authority has defamed him and that his reputation has been damaged by the Council’s actions.

Part of his claim surrounds press releases issued by the Council after he was suspended from the school.

One release, which the Council sent to media and posted on its website, stated there were “apparent” financial irregularities in the school.

Bryce argues that any financial discrepancy should not have been presented as fact because the reports from the Cornwall Council auditors and the Department For Education had not come to a conclusion at that time, and their findings have still have not been made public.

Bryce is also unhappy that Cllr David Pearson, speaking as Lead Member for Children went on to refer to mismanagement in the school and then introduced into the media allegations of images found on Mr Wilby’s laptop.

David also claimed that Police from Devon and Cornwall force headquarters were investigating the matter. The next day, Cllr Pearson retracted that, saying that he had been informed that the mainland Police were not involved after all.

Cllr Pearson has been subject to a formal complaint connected to these and data protection issues. Last week the Council’s Standards Committee met in closed session and heard that officers who assess complaints initially didn’t feel that rules, which govern a councillor’s behaviour, had been breached.

We understand from Mrs Wilby that additional complaints concerning senior members’ comments and actions during Mr Wilby’s suspension will be tabled soon.

David Pearson says he doesn’t regret his comments at the time as he made them in “good faith” based on what he had been told at meetings.

He says that they were a “joint enterprise between the officers and councillors.”

He says he is confident that any councillors would be covered should Mr Wilby take legal action and succeed in a claim. David added that, “members are insured for millions of pounds” by the Council for matters like this.

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