Sacked deputy wins pound;120,000

Cherryll Pepper won pound;15,000 from her former school. Now the council has to pay up as well, reports Steve Hook

A SACKED deputy head has been given pound;120,000 in compensation after claiming the negligence of education officers contributed to her unfair dismissal.

The payout came after Cherryll Pepper took legal action in the High Court against Reading council following her dismissal by governors of Montem first school in Slough, Berkshire.

Reading made the payment on behalf of Berkshire council, which was the local education authority at the time she lost her job, in 1996, and will pay her legal costs.

An industrial tribunal had already awarded pound;15,000 for unfair dismissal by the governors. But her union, the National Association of Head Teachers, acting on advice from Cherie Booth QC, said the LEA should take its share of the blame for failing to guide governors through the disciplinary procedure properly.

Mrs Pepper, 53, was sacked after being wrongly accused of misleading governors into awarding er a higher salary than she was entitled to.

She says she still suffers stress-related complaints, such as tremors down one side of her body and nervousness when she has to speak in public.

Her daughter, now 22, left university because she feared that her mother's dismissal would make it impossible for her parents to fund her higher education.

Mrs Pepper said: "People say I don't look 53 but I feel it after all I've been through.

"I was well on my way to becoming a head but that won't happen now.

"What happened to me should never be allowed to happen to anyone else. The settlement only partially compensates for a promising career utterly shattered by ill-motivated governors and education personnel."

She is now a teacher at a primary school in Southall, west London.

David Hart, general secretary of the NAHT, said: "Cherryll Pepper's career was ruined by the governing body and LEA. Trumped-up charges were thrown out by the industrial tribunal. This is a ground-breaking case."

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