A male teacher at an all-girls grammar school has been awarded £45,000 after he was sacked over sex assault claims pupils later said had been made up ‘for fun’.
Jonathan Hawker, who taught maths and computing, lost his job at Devonport High School for Girls after pupils said he assaulted them by touching their thighs and massaging their shoulders.
He endured the ‘brutal experience’ of being arrested at his home before being dismissed from the Plymouth school for gross misconduct.
His appeal against the sacking was then rejected, despite police dropping the charges.
He has now been awarded £44,868 – his annual salary – after an employment tribunal ruled the school’s investigation was ‘wholly inadequate’.
The school also failed to provide ‘a safe working environment for its staff, in particular men’, the panel added.
However, in July, two girls from the year above said they had been stood with the group of accusers when they admitted they tried to get Mr Hawker fired ‘for fun’, the hearing was told.
Employment Judge Martha Street upheld his claim of unfair dismissal and criticised the school’s investigation into the girls’ allegations.
A fair investigation would at the least have included a transcript of the interviews with them,’ she said.
‘The disciplinary and appeal panel failed in their evaluation of the evidence.’
The judge said the disciplinary panel and subsequent appeal panel was presented with ‘wholly inadequate’ findings.
‘In a career-ending case, the investigation has to be as full as possibly.
‘This fell well short of that. The school accepted the evidence of the younger pupils without challenge or exploration and discounted, ignored or avoided finding contrary evidence.’