Teacher at Evelina ‘made to suffer’ for whistleblowing, employment tribunal agrees

By Robert Firth, Local Democracy Reporter

A teacher who ‘suffered demeaning treatment from a school because of his whistleblowing’ has won part of his employment tribunal against the school and local council.

Ayodele Martin claimed he was victimised after emailing Anne Hamilton, head teacher of Evelina Hospital School in July 2017 expressing concern that staff at the school may have worked an extra 97.5 hours more than they should have in the 2016/17 academic year.

Ms Hamilton subsequently blamed Mr Martin for a change in the school’s opening hours that was introduced at the beginning of the following academic year in September 2017, during meetings with other staff members.

She also sent him an email later in the year accusing him of failing to meet standards. Mr Martin asked her to specify what standards he wasn’t meeting four times, but did not receive a reply.

A tribunal judgement dated November 2023 by Judge Philip Tsamados found Mr Martin suffered demeaning treatment from the school because of his whistleblowing.

In one incident referenced by the tribunal, Ms Hamilton took seven months to inform Mr Martin that a complaint made against him by another member of staff wasn’t being pursued.

The judge described the way in which Ms Hamilton dealt with the case as ‘completely inappropriate’ and said her treatment of him was influenced by his whistleblowing.

In another incident, Ms Hamilton told a governing body meeting in March 2018 at which Mr Martin was in attendance that she was taking a member of staff through ‘capability procedures’, without stating the name of the teacher.

While no performance measures were ever taken against Mr Martin, Judge Tsamados accepted that Ms Hamilton’s statement appeared to be a ‘pointed reference’ to him.

Kate Bennett, another senior teacher working at the Westminster Bridge Road school at the time, was also found to have treated Mr Martin in a demeaning way because of his whistleblowing. Judge Tsamados dismissed two of Mr Martin’s other allegations, saying they did not amount to detrimental treatment.

A future hearing will reach a decision on what damages, if any, the teacher should be awarded by Evelina Hospital School and Southwark council.

Mr Martin has brought five separate claims against the school and council.

All his claims were initially thrown out but he successfully appealed the decision to strike out three relating to detrimental treatment.

Mr Martin joined Evelina Hospital School as a supply teacher in June 2015. He was appointed a maths and ICT teacher in September of the same year. He was the highest paid teacher in the school at the time.

Southwark council declined to comment on the case because of ongoing legal proceedings. Evelina Hospital School failed to reply to requests for comment.

Pictured top: The Evelina Hospital School, based at Evelina Children’s Hospital (Picture: Google Street View)


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