Former school leader faces bullying charge

8th September 2006 at 01:00
The former head of an Oxfordshire comprehensive is facing five counts of unacceptable professional conduct amid accusations of intimidating staff.

Alan Klee, who worked at Carterton community college for nine years denied all charges when he appeared before England's General Teaching Council this week.

He faces charges of bullying and intimidating staff, disregarding the school's employment policy, failing to engage with staff, preventing governors from fulfilling their duty and failing in his professional duty.

The disciplinary hearing was told that Mr Klee resigned in October 2003 after Oxford county council launched an investigation into his conduct.

Michael Sullivan, an RAF serviceman and chair of the school's governing body, said he contacted the council after unions called for Mr Klee's resignation. He had also received complaints from parents.

Fifty staff from the 700-pupil school were interviewed during the investigation, Its findings formed the basis of the charges at this week's disciplinary hearing in Birmingham.

Mr Sullivan said he received letters from parents raising concerns about the exclusion of their children and the manner in which Mr Klee dealt with them at meetings, so he called him to a meeting.

"I told him I could only think the complaints could be related to his manner of dealing with them," he said. "He became extremely angry. I had heard talk of his temper but had never experienced it. I was taken aback and thought it was an entirely inappropriate exchange between a head and the chair of governors."

Mr Sullivan said he called off the meeting and sent a letter to Mr Klee calling for good relations between them and that Mr Klee responded with a letter that was "somewhat offensive" in tone.

The disciplinary hearing heard that the school for 11 to 16-year-olds had the highest exclusion rate in the county.

When questioned by Clive Rawlings, representing Mr Klee, Mr Sullivan agreed that he had supported his zero-tolerance policy on swearing which led to pupils being given three-day temporary exclusions for using bad language.

He said discipline had improved under Mr Klee but governors had struggled to get information they needed from him.

Mr Sullivan acknowledged that he gave a job reference for Mr Klee in 2003 which said "his honesty and integrity cannot be questioned" and which made made no mention of problems or bullying behaviour.

The hearing continues.

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