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Woman teacher loses case over job loss

A teacher at a Scottish public school who claimed she was unfairly chosen for redundancy because she could not coach rugby, lost her case yesterday.

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Mrs Lorna Greenwood took Strathallan school to an industrial tribunal claiming she was paid off because she was the only full-time female history teacher and the only member of the department who could not coach boys' games. Headteacher Angus McPhail had acknowledged in front of the tribunal that Mrs Greenwood was selected because she had fewer ''extra curricular responsibilities'' than her colleagues. But the tribunal ruled that her selection for redundancy was fair and she was not the victim of sex discrimination. Mrs Greenwood refused to speak about the ruling yesterday because she was too upset. Her lawyer, Mr Campbell Donaldson, said: ''She has been very upset since she heard of the ruling and she feels unable to speak about her case. She is extremely disappointed at the outcome. ''We have only been notified of the decision, we have not seen the tribunal's reasons for reaching that decision. We hope that once we have seen the full judgment that we will be in a position to appeal. ''Nothing has changed. Mrs Greenwood still believes that she was unfairly selected for redundancy and we will appeal this ruling if we can.'' A spokeswoman for Strathallan confirmed that the tribunal had ruled in favour of the school but declined to comment further until the full judgment was issued in around two weeks' time. The tribunal in Dundee heard that Mrs Greenwood was hired by the exclusive Perthshire school nine years ago after qualifying from teacher training. She said that during her first few years at the school she had an ''excellent'' working relationship with her head of department and the school headmaster. Her examination results were among the best in the school and she was praised by her colleagues and parents for the high standards of her teaching. But when a new headmaster and head of history were appointed she sensed a change in attitudes towards her and a ''war'' broke out between her and male colleagues. She told the tribunal: ''The attitude at Strathallan was that the women taught the junior classes and the real, A-level teaching was done by the men.'' Headteacher Mr McPhail told the tribunal he had been forced to select a history teacher for redundancy last year because fewer pupils were taking the subject. Two teachers were ruled out because they were in promoted positions and it was impossible for the headmaster to choose between the other teachers on the grounds of teaching ability. So he selected a teacher for redundancy on the basis of extra curricular responsibilities. Mr Campbell Donaldson, for Mrs Greenwood, argued that the selection process was indirect discrimination because she had fewer opportunities to take part in extra curricular activities at the predominantly male school. He added that she had taken on extra tutoring responsibilities and taught first aid but these seemed to rank below rugby at Strathallan. He said: ''This school says that the education of its pupils is its number one priority. But why then did it sack the best teacher in the department? The answer is that she couldn't coach rugby.'' Mrs Greenwood claimed that she was selected for redundancy because she offended the ''old boys' network'' at the school. She also claimed the headmaster took exception to her plans to get married and move her husband into her school accommodation. She told the tribunal: ''Now I am blackballed for teaching jobs at independent schools in Scotland. I can't see Glenalmond or Gordonston wanting me after all this. I was driven out of my job because I was a woman and now my career is in tatters. ''I have lost my job, my home, my career, everything.''

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