Damages but no peace of mind

20th June 2003 at 01:00

Victimised teacher awarded pound;47,000 says he is too traumatised to stay in the profession. Tony O'Sullivan reports.

PHYSICS teacher Kevin Boyle, unfairly sacked and victimised by a Catholic girls' school after blowing the whistle on staff bullying, has been awarded pound;47,750 in compensation.

Croydon employment tribunal unanimously ruled he had been unfairly dismissed from Virgo Fidelis convent school in south London after highlighting complaints against its head and governors.

Frances Silverman, chairwoman, said: "The school's treatment of Mr Boyle as a result of his whistleblowing was a travesty of what should have been done."

The tribunal ruled that Mr Boyle should be compensated by the school for injury to feelings with an award of pound;45,000 which includes expenses.

The remainder is made up by loss of earnings.

After the hearing the 52-year-old said he felt he could not stay in teaching.

"I feel strange now it is all over. I should go out and celebrate, I suppose, but I feel quite flat. It has taken three years of my life and ruined my career."

Mr Boyle was sacked last March after complaining of staff bullying, mismanagement and false qualifications to Croydon Council, Southwark diocese and the headteacher's religious order in France.

He correctly complained that deputy headteacher Kris Sodhi's PhD qualification was bogus.

Mr Boyle also claimed that two teachers were conducting an affair on the school premises and that a nun, possibly a lesbian, was counselling girls, although the tribunal made no finding on that.

The father of three is now working in another school but he said: "My career is ruined. I feel I will have some sort of breakdown if I stay in teaching."

Mr Boyle has resigned from his present school and will leave in July. "I do not know what I will do next," he said. "I cannot see myself returning to teaching."

A psychiatric report read by the tribunal revealed that Mr Boyle has been receiving treatment and taking antidepressants since November 2001.

The tribunal has now recommended that Sister Bernadette Davey, head of Virgo Fidelis, undergo management training with specific reference to human resources. The school is not appealing against the tribunal ruling but John Finnin, chairman of governors, has written to parents urging them to back Sister Bernadette, who has since been made a Reverend Mother, "for a job well done".

Mr Boyle's NASUWT representative Tom Real, on long-term sick leave from Virgo Fidelis since the beginning of 2002 because of bullying, is consulting a barrister on Monday about taking action against the school.

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