THE senior teacher unfairly dismissed from a Blackburn Secondary School after governors carried out an ‘inadequate’ investigation has accepted medical retirement.

Caroline Swan, part of the senior leadership team at Our Lady and St John Catholic College, has expressed her regret its current executive principal Patrick Murden failed to apologise in his reaction to the employment tribunal ruling.

Judge Pauline Feeney dismissed Ms Swan’s claim she was discriminated against because of a disability but ruled she was unfairly dismissed because the governing board, including school governor James Gilda, failed to conduct a reasonable investigation.

She said his handling of the hearing in October 2013, which led to her sacking the following month, was ‘not even handed’ and failed to hear the full evidence available from a catalogue of events.

Jenni Watson, the retired headteacher appointed by insurers Arc Insurance Ltd to represent Ms Swan at the hearing has issued a statement on her behalf, the only time she has spoken about the case.

Ms Watson said: “In the Employment Tribunal proceedings Miss Swan was accepted by the school as disabled because of her long-standing condition of anxiety and depression, but the tribunal declined her discrimination claim.

“ Instead it judged the way she was treated by Colette Gillen (the headteacher at the time) Mr Gilda (the investigating governor) and Mr Joyce (the dismissing panel’s chairman) as so improper as to be unfair dismissal and breach of contract.

“The allegations brought against Miss Swan in the school by Suzanne Hall and called gross misconduct by Mrs Gillen were accepted by the tribunal as being misconceived.

“The tribunal firmly decided that they did not allow for the governors’ panel to dismiss. The robust decision of the tribunal criticised the school for its handling of the whole matter.

“Miss Swan coped very well with her disability during her long service to the school but has now accepted medical retirement , a circumstance which was not in prospect before the disciplinary process was brought against her.

“It is therefore regrettable that the comment of the current headteacher of the school, while distancing the present school from the unfortunate events, fails to offer any apology or expression of regret that Miss Swan was so badly treated while working there.”