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Head teacher accused of assault was unfairly dismissed, says tribunal

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A head teacher was unfairly dismissed after a school fired him in connection of an assault against a child, an employment tribunal has ruled.

The judge said he had “concerns” about the school’s internal investigation into its former head teacher, David Dee.

Mr Dee was charged with common assault against a child, but was later cleared after a trial.

But a panel of school governors subsequently found the head teacher guilty of gross misconduct and was dismissed in June 2016.

Witnesses to the incident said “they couldn’t believe what they were seeing”, and Mr Dee had “expressed regret” for what happened.

In hindsight, he would have handled things differently, he said.

Despite the evidence, the tribunal found that Mr Dee’s dismissal was both “procedurally unfair” and breached his employment contract in which he had a right to appeal the decision.

They said it was not until some time after the incident that Mr Dee “was even asked to give his account of what happened”.

The Tribunal said the head teacher “was left guessing for months” following his dismissal.

It added that Suffolk County Council – the school’s local authority – was hoping Mr Dee would be found guilty of assault to justify the dismissal.

“Taking all these matters into account, the dismissal was procedurally unfair”, it said.