Norwich Initiative Steiner School

Sawfoot vs Norwich Initiative Steiner School - 13th of July 2011


The complete tribunal judgement documents are available as a PDF file below.

Here are some highlights (NB: AA refers to Ms Jo Sawfoot’s daughter throughout):

Early in the document it makes clear that Miss Sandie Tolhurst, the school administrator, was in charge (p.20 point 65) and it was her who mislead the Local Authority Designated Officer (p.35 point 160). The judgement is particularly damning of these actions (p.48 point 42);

p.18 points 53 through 60 show the school trying to keep their version of events consistent... and failing:

point 53: shows Dr David Vernon Jones (chair of trustees to the school) / Mrs Hales (school volunteer, personnel advisor) / Miss Sandie Tolhurst found lying;
point 54: shows manipulation of evidence by the school;
point 57: insinuates Miss Jacqui Armour (kindergarten assistant) falsified documents;

point 59: shows Miss Sandie Tolhurst lying in court;

Pages 19 to 38 outline the facts of the case in an impartial way. It's pretty mixed, Ms Jo Sawfoot wins some and concedes others. Worth a read to get a balanced view of the facts of the case;

p.20 point 69: It's kicked out by the court that Ms Jo Sawfoot claimed Miss Sandie Tolhurst had suggested calling Social Services before as a way of dealing with a parent;

p.26 point 107: Miss Jacqui Armour cannot produce minutes to what could well be one of the most important meetings in the case;

p.24 point 88/89: More tampering of evidence;

p.35 point 160: Miss Sandie Tolhurst was found to have mislead the Local Authority Designated Officer;

p.36 point 162: Miss Sandie Tolhurst refers to "resurrection" of a complaint she didn't bother dealing with;

Page 38 onwards is where the "Issues" are addressed - with yes/no against each;

First up, the school comprehensively loses the "Whistleblowing". Amazing they did not even mention this in their communication to parents. Several of "detriments" are won, but more are lost - mostly around AA not being allowed into class 1 for behaviour - rather than malicious - reasons;

They also did not have evidence to think the school was saying Ms Jo Sawfoot did something "big and terrible";

p.42 point 24: Dim view taken to mis-representation of meeting minutes by the school;

p.46 point 39 (b)/(c): Dim view taken of decision not to deal with Ms Jo Sawfoot’s complaint by Miss Jacqui Armour because it wasn't on the right form. "Not to properly investigate a grievance and not to act on a grievance promptly and appropriately, is a detriment; it would place a worker in a situation whereby they felt they were at a disadvantage continuing in their employment thereafter";

p.48 point 42 (a)/(b)/(c): Miss Sandie Tolhurst’s action misrepresenting the nature of the incident to an outside authority, seeking to give the impression that the matter had been properly investigated and reported whereas in fact it had not, raising concerns about her professionalism and performance of a teacher without having addressed those issues are all found to be basically out-of-order;

p.53 points 48.1/48.2/48.3/50: The conclusions: failure to deal with child safety issues properly; failure to deal with parental and staff complaints; misleading Social Services.

Download the complete document here (56 pages - 10MB)

1861-2011 : 150 years of Rudolf Steiner

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