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.

15 Responses to Case Against Scilly’s Former School Head Teacher Thrown Out

  1. Todd Stevens July 12, 2015 at 11:06 am

    The council will probably get sued-and rightfully so- they in turn need to pursue those responsible to regain any and all money we will have all lost……and heads must roll.

  2. Linda Owens July 10, 2015 at 9:51 pm

    Maria and Bryce have endured three years of hell and the toll on their emotional and physical health has been hard to witness. But their strength lies in their love for each other and in their belief that the pursuit of justice and truth must never be compromised. Their refusal to be silenced and bullied must have been a rude awakening for those who actively sought to destroy Bryce to protect their own interests within the CIOS. The conspiracy continues as those now in positions of power seek to protect a supposedly democratic institution that nevertheless is complict in its disregard for due process. Bryce has been vindicated but it’s far from over.

  3. ADRIAN July 10, 2015 at 1:37 pm

    Many residents will remember that in May 2012 I was so appalled by recent events that I hired the Town Hall and held a public meeting.
    Subsequent events have changed the lives of many so that I feel the time has come to have another Public dialogue and on a personal level I would value the opinions of fellow Islanders.
    So I have booked the Town Hall again . this time at 7..0 p.m. Thursday next (16th)
    Please come along with your ideas and aspirations for a better way forward.

    Adrian Davis

  4. PHJ July 8, 2015 at 3:54 pm

    I was asked at the time of Mr Wilby’s suspension what I thought of the L.A’s case. I said that I hoped it had a very large contingency budget as the case was flimsy to say the least. I thought Mr Wilby had a watertight case for constructive dismissal. I hope he pursues it.
    Many years ago I was asked why I hadn’t applied for the Headship – i replied that as Hell did not appear to have frozen over …………

  5. Margaret Davis July 8, 2015 at 3:17 pm

    I do wholeheartedly agree with John’s comments and hope that some of our arrogant leaders and officers may at last show some regret , openness and transparency instead of the world of power and secrecy of officialdom we have lived with these last few years.

  6. Frank Offski July 8, 2015 at 12:26 pm

    Perhaps the councillors should ask the senior officers to claim back some or all of the costs that will be incurred from the people responsible for causing this in the first place.
    They all left with large public funded pay-offs that in the light of this outcome could be considered inappropriate.

    As I understand it, the present council leadership have not been much better, that the last one, withholding information, not following due process and obfuscation etc, so it would seem that little has change in the intervening three years.

  7. seth July 8, 2015 at 10:32 am

    Congratulations to Mr Bryce, I hope the compensation bankrupts the council. This is about your only hope to get decent governance.
    Don’t forget that the groundswell for his dismissal and alot of the goings on came from within the school, I don’t remember any individual being dismissed from the school for this.

  8. John Hicks July 7, 2015 at 1:24 pm

    Well what a surprise. I always said that Mr Wilby is going to become a very wealthy man over this. He now deserves his just desserts.

  9. Mark Prebble July 6, 2015 at 7:11 pm

    What’s more than annoying is that while some of those involved at the start of this saga have been paid off, there appears to be officers and others still within the council’s shroud who have continued to drive this process of harassment over the last 3 years. Talk about egg on the face, surely the council’s legal advice, which we’re paying for, must be questioned.
    Why not ask your elected Councillor if they supported this process over the last 3 years. You have a right to know what people are doing in your name and with your money.

  10. Jonny Exile July 6, 2015 at 6:59 pm

    Surely there must be sufficient grounds now for calling in Government commissioners to take control of at least some aspects of the Council’s activities?

  11. Caitlin Jenner July 6, 2015 at 1:04 pm

    I agree, surely there is a case for him to bring against these people, personally. rather than the Council and the taxpayers of Scilly, who had nothing to do with this?

    I hope that names can start to be named, so people can start to realise what happened and not perpetuate this demonization of the council.

    Is there anywhere we can read any of the paperwork for this online? I hate the degree to which this has kept the public in the dark. Why were the local authority pursuing this? Who told them to pursue this? Who submitted the papers to the NCTL? NAMES need to be shared, I think that’s a basic right for us as taxpayers to know the NAMES of the people involved in this case. I don’t accept that names of positions can be protected by an FOI, these are big financial decisions with big financial risk attached, how on earth can such decisions be taken by Officers and not Members?

    We need a full investigation of what happened here so that safeguards are put in place to ensure it never happens again, because this is going to cost the Council a fortune, and we’re talking 6 figures.

  12. pete July 6, 2015 at 12:59 pm

    There should be a inquiry into the behaviour of the council as regards this matter.

  13. JOHN BANFIELD July 6, 2015 at 12:42 pm

    Well done Bryce and Maria, Justice is now being seen to be done, For those individuals who instigated this career wrecking farce to the Wilby Family may you hang your heads in shame. It is also shameful that the Council in its current form will most probably pay the price and the Rate Payers pick up the Bill. But hopefully legal action will also be taken against certain individuals who have since left the Councils Employ, and allow the full extent of this campaign against the Wilby’s to become general knowledge.

    • Stuart Moore July 6, 2015 at 3:04 pm

      Totally agree John, however I doubt the people involved understand the concept of shame, its probably not part of their emotional vocabulary.

      And where are all the people that used to come on this site supporting the council on this subject? not so mouthy now are you

  14. Stuart Moore July 6, 2015 at 11:50 am

    Well Bryce and Maria for sticking to you’re guns and proving your innocence.
    The annoying part for me, is the people responsible for this fiasco have since left the council’s employ and with large pay off’s, and its the tax payer that’s going to have to foot the bill for their incompetence.
    I just hope the Wilby’s take legal action against those individuals involved.