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Disabled teacher awarded Pounds 17,000

A court has awarded more than Pounds 17,000 to a disabled teacher who was unfairly and wrongfully sacked from a London school.

John Cornelius, 46, who has spina bifida, sued Southwark Borough Council after an industrial tribunal ruled that the council breached 1988 Education Reform Act procedures when it dismissed him from Walworth School, Bermondsey, amid allegations of gross misconduct in March last year.

Bow County Court has ordered Southwark to pay Mr Cornelius Pounds 15,562 in back-dated salary (in addition to the Pounds 6,000 back-pay award made by the tribunal in May) and Pounds 1,680 to cover his legal costs.

Mr Cornelius, who strongly denies the misconduct allegations made by Walworth head Brinley Morgan, said: "The court's ruling is a victory for me as it bears out my claim that, technically, I have not been sacked and should therefore have remained suspended on full pay from March last year.

"I should remain on the school's payroll until such time as it decides to organise a lawful disciplinary hearing."

Southwark council spokesman John Harrison said: "We are trying to have the court's judgment set aside. We believe it constitutes an abuse of legal process because in our opinion Mr Cornelius' case has yet to be fully settled by the tribunal."

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