Housemistress may fight sacking

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The Independent Online
A HOUSEMISTRESS whose sacking from an exclusive girls' school prompted pupils to call a 'strike' is considering taking the matter to an industrial tribunal.

The Association of Teachers and Lecturers, which represents Jenne Davies who lost her appeal against dismissal after a week-long hearing by governors of the Royal School in Bath, said yesterday that its solicitors were now reviewing the case.

Last month sixth-formers at the pounds 3,300- a-term school - motto, Dominus sapientiam dat, The Lord gives wisdom - refused to supervise prep for the younger girls and withdrew from lunchtime duties.

Judith McClure, the headmistress, terminated Mrs Davies's contract for failing to report that one of her boarders was missing overnight. Mrs Davies's case is that she was confident the girl was safe. Dr McClure's argument was that she should have been told, as it is the headmistress who bears ultimate responsibility for any pupil.

Robert Mash, a former colleague and close friend of Mrs Davies, said that he feared her career had already been blighted by her sacking. Mr Mash, biology master at Clayesmore School in Dorset, where Mrs Davies was a housemistress five years ago, said: 'She has been found guilty of thinking for herself and using her own judgement. In the slightly feudal system which operates, this is seen as the sin.'

Mr Mash said she was 'an excellent teacher and an excellent housemistress' because of the rapport she built up with her charges. She didn't wield 'the big stick' with the girls because they knew 'she had definite lines you didn't cross'.

Mrs Davies was appointed to the school's modern languages staff four years ago to teach German and French. The girls have described her as 'fantastic, caring, an efficient and effective tutor'.