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A school secretary claims unfair dismissal after ending relationship with the headmaster

Date: (15 January 2013)    |    

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A school secretary who ended her relationship with the headmaster of the college, she was working at, had to live in fear an employment tribunal was told.

Mark Stenton, 42, who was posted to get the failing school up and going with special measures had brought in new rules on discipline and started a physical relationship with the married mother of three Mrs Honeywell.

Mrs Honeywell, 41, alleged that Mr Stenton had made it impossible for her to carry on with her job at the Clarendon College in Trowbridge Willshire.

The two had admitted having enjoyed their sexual relationship on the school premises soon after Mr Stenton was brought in as a troubleshooter.

Mrs Honeywell left her husband and started to live with Mr Stenton but after three months she had a change of heart and decided to give her five year old marriage another go.

In a pre-review of the case in Bristol Mr Stenton was alleged to have stormed to her home and kicked in her front door before police came and ordered him to leave. He was also said to have sent a text threatening suicide to Mrs Honeywell’s 14 year old daughter Amy.

The school bosses and governors investigated the affair and were signed off work, citing suffering from stress. Later Mr Stenton was let to stay in his job though some parents objected.

Mrs Honeywell also returned to work but had leave after six months after the end of her affair and claimed that she was forced to leave. She said she was scared of Stanton and did not want to be under his control again.

She told the tribunal how scared she was all the times and had to stay in the office as she was too scared to leave.

She said that she was treated as an outcast by other staff at the school and even workers at a local store glared at her as if she was dirt.

In November 2011 she quit her job and along with her all her children who were pupils of Clarendon College were also forced to leave she said.

She went to the tribunal claiming constructive dismissal, unfair dismissal and detriment against the Academy Trust of Clarendon Academy and Wiltshire Council.

Defending Mr Stenton and the school their employment lawyer said that from the inception to the end the relationship between the two was consensual and there was evidence that those sexual encounters had taken place in the school premises.

Steve Thompson-Martyn chairman of Clarendon’s governors said that it was ongoing case and it was not appropriate to discuss any aspect of it.