• Text size      
  • Send this article to a friend
  • Print this article

Teacher sacked after she got engaged, tribunal is told

A top public school sacked a woman teacher because she got engaged, an industrial tribunal was told yesterday.

Loading article content

Mrs Lorna Greenwood, then known as Miss Neil, was made redundant by Strathallan school, one of the most exclusive fee-paying schools in Scotland, just weeks after she told the headmaster of her wedding plans. Yesterday Mrs Greenwood, 31, took the school to an industrial tribunal, claiming unfair dismissal and sexual discrimination. She claims that she was ''driven out'' of the school because she was a woman in a predominantly male domain and challenged the schools ''conservative attitudes''. Strathallan school says that Mrs Greenwood was made redundant because there were too many history teachers at the school and she did not have any extra-curricular responsibilities. Mrs Greenwood was hired by the Perthshire school more than five years ago after she qualified from teacher training in England. During the first few years at the school she had an ''excellent'' working relationship with the head of her department and the school headmaster, although she was concerned at not being allowed to teach A-level classes. But when new men were appointed head of the history department and headmaster, she sensed a change in attitudes towards her. She told the tribunal that, at first, she thought the new headmaster, Mr Angus McPhail, was a ''contemporary'' whom she was able to approach with any difficulties. But a ''war'' broke out between the teacher and the new head of the history department over the allocation of A-level classes and an exam revision session with her Higher class. ''The attitude at Strathallan was that the women taught the junior classes and the real, A-level, teaching was done by the men,'' she said. ''I challenged that because I was qualified to teach A-level and I had the experience. I needed to teach A-level if I was to have any chance of being considered for promotion. But every time I tried to challenge the establishment I was blocked.'' Mrs Greenwood told the tribunal that the headmaster had failed to take any action after she complained about the attitude shown towards her by her head of department. Then a new teacher, with fewer qualifications, was appointed to a higher position then her. The row was still simmering when she told Mr McPhail early last year that she intended to get married in August. Weeks later, she received a letter from Mr McPhail explaining that one teacher from her department was going to be made redundant and it was likely to be the teacher with the least extra- curricular responsibilities. Mrs Greenwood said, ''I feared then that I would be chosen for redundancy, although I hoped I wouldn't. The criteria selected was just a sham. Whatever criteria he had chosen I would have been selected.'' Mrs Greenwood choked back tears as she told the tribunal: ''I was terrified, I was taking on the might of Strathallan school, quite an institution, on my own. I was frightened that I was going to lose my job, my livelihood, my home, my career, everything.'' The tribunal continues.

Commenting & Moderation

We moderate all comments on HeraldScotland on either a pre-moderated or post-moderated basis.
If you're a relatively new user then your comments will be reviewed before publication and if we know you well and trust you then your comments will be subject to moderation only if other users or the moderators believe you've broken the rules

Moderation is undertaken full-time 9am-6pm on weekdays, and on a part-time basis outwith those hours. Please be patient if your posts are not approved instantly.

PARCH1.352450