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Tearful deputy wins pound;15,000 in compensation

A DEPUTY head who was reduced to tears and sacked by his female boss has been awarded a pound;15,000 pay-out.

Geoff Hetherington, a teacher for 25 years, suffered a breakdown after head Gill Wray persistently criticised and plagued him with demands for work. A tribunal heard that she would sit in on his lessons at Bishopton Redmarshall primary school, near Darlington, County Durham, and take notes on his performance.

Mr Hetherington, 49, who had been praised by school inspectors before Ms Wray's appointment, said: "I was told my teaching plans were not good enough. I had to repeatedly do new ones and write endless reports.

"It got to the stage where I would dread the sound of her foot-steps in te corridor outside.

"She ruled that all contact had to be by memos and called my talking to parents 'idle chit-chat'.

"In the end I couldn't bear to look in my pigeon-hole because it was invariably stuffed with memos from her criticising me.

"One day I stood up in front of a class of seven-year-olds and my eyes just filled with tears. That was when I decided I had to see a doctor."

Diagnosed as suffering from stress, and having lost three stone in weight, he took sick leave in August 1997 and was sacked in February 1999.

Following an earlier tribunal that ruled he was unfairly dismissed, a second hearing in Newcastle this week told Darlington council to pay him pound;15,142.

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