John Kyrle News - Academy Scandal
Changes from deeply scrutinising Review

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Latest News - Changes at John Kyrle High School

In December 2020, following the revelations in a top judge's statement about the awful treatment of a member of staff by the school's leadership, and of the huge waste of £187,000 in legal fees alone of the school's funds on an attack on another school, an Independent Review of Governance was launched.

In April 2021 the school received the report from the Independent Review...

BREAKING ADDITIONAL NEWS: Parts of Governance Report revealed.

The school has continued to refuse to release the Report, and yet these 2 paragraphs have been made public by a Judge after being disclosed in the Tribunal Remedy Hearing...

“To date, there has been no board inquiry, no open discussion, or post-mortem on each of these damaging legal judgements. At this stage of where the school is placed, this is a serious omission. There is no appearance or interpretation from evidence available of a Trustee Board that determines the agenda for governing the school. In reality, there is too much deference to the ‘authority’, presumed knowledge and expertise of the Executive Headteacher and the Senior Leadership Group.”

“In the immediate aftermath of the tribunal, there is no written evidence of the Trustee Board reviewing the Judge’s report and nothing to indicate what lessons could be learned? Who is accountable for the school being placed in this public position that has attracted such negative publicity? The school has blamed its barrister. It has the opportunity to appeal. It has not done so. It should be noted that costs remain to be awarded from the tribunal”

(These two damning paragraphs do not contain any personal information whatsoever which was JKHS' claimed reason for not publishing the Report)

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Jump to the latest news item bullets on this page for the key actions that have happened since the Report
You can also read further down the page more background on why the review happened, about Nigel Griffiths' animus and discrimination, and his exclamation of FIGJAM (F**k I'm Good, Just Ask Me) while revelling in his actions.

On the 1st April 2021, in anticipation of the findings of the review the school cut ties with Denise Strutt the Chair of Trustees accepting her resignation. Denise Strutt, who had not only failed to hold Headteachers (ex-Lead Ofsted Inspector, no longer contracted by them as of the start of the Public Hearing regards his school's treatment of a teacher), David Boyd and Kristian Phillips to account for their actions, the school had also declared that the Employment Tribunal and legal waste were not representative of any real problem at John Kyrle High School.

On April 26th 2021, the school announced that the Report from the Independent Review of Governance, conducted by National Leader of Governance (NLG) Denis Barry had been received, and that an Action Plan had been drawn by the school with the assistance of George Craig, another NLG (who was additionally announced to be aiding the school with executing the action plan over the next year).

Freedom of Information Requests for a copy of the Report from the Independent Review of Governance have been refused by the school.

Complaints to the school since the Review started have been turned away. Communications via the Clerk to Trustees, Carol Straughan were not processed following proper process. Carol Straughan is also Nigel Griffiths' PA. This arrangement was viewed by many with suspicion and the DfE Action Plan saw Carol Straughan removed from the role in order to be replaced by someone with who offers the suitable and appropriate level of challenge and support required by someone in the role of Clerk.

Mental Health of both pupils and staff is of paramount importance. It is clear that the false allegations by the school and the sham sacking of the teacher could have a significant negative impact against their wellbeing and mental health, as could the malpractice aimed at her that caused her to seek justice in the face of awful treatment. The teacher won on all major counts, and remarkably, the only count not upheld reflected just as terribly on the John Kyrle Leadership - on that count, it was shockingly concluded that the school would have treated any trade union activist as badly as they treated Ms Lucas whether or not they were disabled.

The main corrective actions at JKHS since the review: (MOST RECENT FIRST)

Background information...

Nigel Griffiths, David Boyd and Kristian Phillips were all evidenced and deemed to be involved in the sham sacking of the teacher in question, and currently they remain in employment at John Kyrle High School having not yet been held to account. The school has made no announcement of any disciplinary measures taken against any of them for their actions. The school broke employment law and disability law, and acted with discrimination regards union activity. Discrimination is just as serious a matter as unlawful actions.

The Tribunal reported how it explored how Nigel Griffiths had been collecting information he hoped to use against the teacher, who had raised perfectly legitimate and properly voiced concerns over malpractice at the school. This information collection also included email chains dug up by Kristian Phillips that had taken place with the teacher (Kristian Phillips who was her line manager and is an Assistant Headteacher), these were supplied to the Headteacher with highly suspicious timing. The supply of these email chains happened on the day of a national union strike after the SLT had been inappropriately questioning teachers over whether they were going to strike (a personal choice and decision of which the SLT has no right to be told or informed). Kristian Phillips was suddenly providing emails from the teacher that had taken place months before, which he would have had to have deliberately set about digging up from way back in the deep history of his inbox. Mr Phillips could not answer why the timing of providing these email chains to the Head was so suspicious when he was cross examined in the Public Hearing, or for that matter being able to answer the reason for him doing it. More of Kristian Phillips actions were examined in great length when the Tribunal examined the school's allegations against the teacher as he was hands on regards projected grades and performance data which the school had falsely accused the teacher of manipulating to her advantage.

Neil Pascoe, who Chaired the final Appeals Panel and sealed the sham sacking, was removed from the Trustees but moved up to being one of the five Members at the school where the school list that he remains (Members sit above the Trustees). Companies House public records show Mr Pascoe ceased to be a Trustee on 10th November 2020, some 6 days after the Employment Tribunal verdicts broke with the school losing on all major counts and their behaviour exposed. However, in the Public Hearing, Mr Pascoe as part of his cross examination claimed he did not have much to do with the running of the school, this being in contradiction to the fact that at the time of answering this way in the Court of Law in July 2020 he clearly was still a Trustee, a matter of public record.

In Mr Pascoe's cross examination he was also asked about the Headteacher's conduct and had nothing to say, no concerns. This despite Mr Pascoe having once lead an investigation into Nigel Griffiths shouting at a previous union rep, an investigation which resulted in Nigel Griffiths being recommended training along the lines of anger management so that future incidents of shouting at staff by Mr Griffiths were not to happen. Mr Pascoe also claimed in cross examination that he couldn't recall why Joyce Thomas, a long serving Chair of Trustees and Trustees had resigned after 36 years service. This and yet when Joyce Thomas had learned that her clearly reasoned letter of resignation had not been circulated to the Trustees by the school as it should have been, she had made absolutely sure that the Trustees received it by delivering it herself. Her letter described how she was disturbed over the treatment of staff at the school, so much so that she resigned with immediate effect.

Denise Strutt, a now resigned Chair of Trustees had claimed to the community that the school had received HR advice around Jo Lucas, seeming to paint a picture of a process followed with integrity, and yet the judge's statement explored how the school had NOT followed advice. The school's HR advice was coming from their external HR company, Hoople. One example of this deep contrast in the school's claims vs the Tribunal's findings is how in the Judge's damning statement he said:

"At an early stage there was clear consideration given to the prospect of a capability process, and Ms Davies advice was that this would not necessarily lead to dismissal. She said that a disciplinary process leading to dismissal could only be the result of deliberate misconduct by the claimant and that evidence was required to sustain such an allegation. We concluded that Mr Boyd misrepresented the position when he said that a disciplinary allegation of this kind was recommended by Hoople"

Note, the judge is saying that David Boyd, Operational Headteacher, was not being truthful. The barrister said: "Performance management was not pursued as the respondent (JKHS) hoodwinked the investigator".

In simple terms, it seemed JKHS had set about getting rid of Jo Lucas. The processes they undertook were unwarranted and inappropriate, leading to a sham sacking. The disciplinary processes should never have happened or been embarked upon. The school's advice was not what they said it was. The barrister even described the ongoing advice they received as "rubbish in, rubbish out", meaning that the advice they were then getting was warped by the slanted information they were feeding in themselves. "Rubbish in, rubbish out" seeming to directly infer manipulation by the school.

In summing up, the Judge explained how the processes were unwarranted. They were inappropriately chosen in order to pursue a sacking that should never have happened. The school were in effect accusing Jo Lucas of misconduct where the evidence the school had did not stack up to warrant the process they claimed it did, ignoring their duties to act properly and professionally.

"The Tribunal concluded that the respondent (JKHS) could not show that the claimant (Jo Lucas) would have been dismissed on a fair process - on its own evidence a capability process would not have led to a dismissal, and we concluded that any reasonable assessment of the evidence would have led to a capability rather than a disciplinary process. We did not consider there was any real prospect of the claimant being fairly dismissed"

Nigel Griffiths did not turn up to the Employment Tribunal, which the judge drew "adverse inference" against, finding it very poor of Mr Griffiths indeed as he had been seen to be the prime mover of the sham process the school went down and he had chosen not to turn up to give account of himself or explain himself. Mr Griffiths' declaration of "FIGJAM" (F**k I'm Good, Just Ask Me) is now well known, and the Tribunal referred to multiple times in highly negative terms that would be expected. The barrister said "Nigel Griffiths is skulking somewhere in Ross, not wanting to come to us".

Nigel Griffiths and his Team are required to abide by the 7 Nolan Principles of public life. They are: Selflessness, Integrity, Objectivity, Accountability, Openness, Honesty and Leadership.

David Boyd, the 2nd in command at JKHS, the "Operational Headteacher" did turn up and was cross examined in the Court of Law. Over discussing points concerning Jo Lucas' activity as union rep, the Barrister said of David Boyd's responses:

"This tells us that David Boyd takes us all for fools. That we don’t know how unions work etc. That he has an arrogance about him to spout that rubbish"

The Court heard how David Boyd had not worked elsewhere, having spent his whole career at John Kyrle High School, thus bringing no additional experience or expertise to the school with him.

The barrister said to the Judge of David Boyd in his final summing up when discussing exam grades:

"David Boyd’s arrogance knows no bounds.
If a child got her ALICE grade, is that ok?
David Boyd said that meant the child made NO PROGRESS!!
2 things on this…
He is either a senior educationalist who doesn’t understand how his systems work, or he does know. But he thinks you are stupid.
He is here to do her (Jo Lucas) down, he is not here to tell the truth."

Why did the review happen? An Academy Scandal of wasted public funds, aggressive legal actions and targeting a teacher with unlawful, inappropriate and disturbing actions and motivations.

The Employment Tribunal which John Kyrle High School lost on all major counts, exposed cruel and vindictive treatment inappropriate to the situation at hand, including discrimination, anti-union bias, unfair dismissal, making false allegations against the teacher concerned and ignoring disability obligations and law.

Nigel Griffiths' animus towards the teacher, his anti-union discrimination and attitude, was explored by the judge in his 70-page statement and verdicts, and the school lost on all major counts. Shockingly, the only count that didn't hold was a technicality because it was concluded the school would have treated any teacher and union rep in such a situation as badly, whether or not they were disabled.

Nigel Griffiths, also a Lead Ofsted Inspector at the time, the court was shown, had declared "FIGJAM" (F**k I'm Good, Just Ask Me) and asking for the teacher's file, seeming to be revelling in thinking he'd found something he could use against the teacher.

David Boyd, the second in command to Nigel Griffiths, the 'Operational Headteacher', was concluded by the judge to have misrepresented the advice to the school to the ends of pursuing a quite inappropriate and unwarranted disciplinary procedure and sham sacking. The barrister commented he had "hoodwinked the investigator".

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