Case Against Scilly’s Former School Head Teacher Thrown Out

Former head teacher Bryce Wilby

Former head teacher Bryce Wilby

The former Head Teacher of the Five Islands School says his name has, “finally been cleared.”

Last week, the Council’s evidence against Bryce Wilby was discredited by the official government body that investigates complaints against teachers.

And in a highly unusual move, the National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL) threw out the case before it reached the hearing stage that could have prevented Mr Wilby from working as a teacher.

Back in May 2012, Mr Wilby was suspended for alleged financial impropriety. He has always denied the Council’s allegations.

The NCTL panel said that evidence from the Council’s auditors was, “wholly unreliable” and the actions of the Council amounted to “serious fault,” which “were extensive and undermined the credibility of all the evidence against Mr Wilby.”

In a strongly worded judgment the panel said, “The failures by the investigating authorities were so exceptional and extensive that the panel did not consider that the integrity of the full hearing could be maintained.”

The panel also said that “there was a strong indication that all of the evidence gathered by the Authorities were contaminated by some form of failure to act fairly and properly.”

The NCTL felt it was odd that Bryce’s computer diary contained few appointments before his suspension but numerous items were in it after he was sent home.

They said it was clear that data had gone and they didn’t find it credible.

A number of senior Council staff have left the authority in the three years since Bryce was suspended but he says current Council and school representatives have continued to push for action against him.

Bryce says they had been instructed to hand over evidence or account for where it is, and he says their responses have led to this ruling.

He says the current Council Chairman Amanda Martin has also been kept informed of the case and his concerns, and says other elected members should be aware of what has been done in their name.

Mr Wilby says those councillors should now realise “that they never had a case in the first place.”

Although Bryce’s campaign for justice is over, he says he and his wife Maria have lost three years of their lives, working evenings and weekends to fight for his reputation.

He’s not celebrating this outcome as a victory. While it saves him having to go through a full hearing, Mr Wilby says he regrets not being able to expose the evidence “for what it was” in an open panel.

Bryce says he now intends to take legal action against the Council to, “ensure the safety of future generations of employees in Scilly.”

And he says this outcome gives him a solid case for suing Scilly’s Council for compensation.

Bryce says on top of the pain and stress of the action against him, he has lost earnings and accumulated significant legal expenses.

It is unclear whether the Council has set aside money for any legal action by Mr Wilby.

Last September, when the Council discussed two employment tribunal cases, Chairman Amanda Martin said it wasn’t “a forgone conclusion” that the Council would have to pay out, after a provision was made in the Authority’s Statement of Accounts.

Bryce says the Town Hall could now face a sizeable payout.

We contacted the Council’s Press Office and the Council Chairman yesterday to ask who gave the Council authority to pursue Mr Wilby and what provision has been made for costs. We’ll let you know their response.

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