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Teacher's payout over harassment

A 30-year-old teacher has won a settlement worth thousands of pounds from a local education authority after being sexually harassed by her headteacher.

Vicky Williams was a confident, enthusiastic teacher when she started a one-year contract at Merllyn primary, Bagillt, Flintshire, Wales, in 2003. But she soon found herself subjected to sexual harassment by the head, Norman Closs-Parry.

When she objected, the then 28-year-old was bullied and reduced to tears.

Earlier this month Mr Parry was struck off from the register of teachers by the General Teaching Council Wales.

The GTCW's disciplinary committee heard he had kissed and touched female teachers and made inappropriate comments about their breasts.

The 65-year-old who retired last summer was found guilty on seven counts of unacceptable professional behaviour. He was found to have behaved in an intimidating manner, shouting and using inappropriate and sexually offensive language.

Ms Williams agreed her settlement, described by her union the Association of Teachers and Lecturers as "substantial", after the hearing and more than a year after she was signed off sick in February 2004.

Now working in a new job, she said: "I am immensely relieved that it's all over and I can get back to my normal life. It was a horrible experience and I felt very isolated until the ATL gave me the support I needed."

Flintshire county council issued a statement of regret over the sexual harassment and bullying she had suffered.

Mary Bousted, ATL general secretary, said: "She was a young teacher, full of optimism and she had that confidence and self-esteem eroded by someone in a position of power who should have known better."

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