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Teacher awarded £80,000 following unfair dismissal claim

A teacher has been awarded nearly £80,000 following an employment tribunal for unfair dismissal.

Lesley Ham, formerly of Beardwood Humanities College, in Blackburn, was found not guilty of failing to ensure pupil safety during a lesson.

Mrs Ham is set to receive £78,600 which includes the maximum compensation award of £68,400, a ‘basic award’ of £9,400 and a further £800.

The tribunal heard how Mrs Ham was investigated and dismissed over the incident which related to pupils having access to a side-room containing chemicals.

The school believed as a director of science, Mrs Ham had a duty to prevent pupils having access to the room on an unsupervised basis.

The Manchester hearing was told the pupils were not disciplined over the incident but teachers were later banned from allowing pupils to enter the room unsupervised.

Mrs Ham said she was in the main classroom and heard nothing about the incident until it was reported to a deputy head two weeks later.

She told the Lancashire Telegraph she believed her dismissal was part of a “plot” against her.

Blackburn with Darwen Council has already appealed the decision in writing which was dismissed. A second appeal has now been lodged.

Council legal director David Fairclough said: “We are currently appealing the decision by the employment tribunal. We cannot make any further comment at this stage.”

Chris Keates, NAS/UWT General Secretary said: “The union represented Lesley Ham throughout the tribunal proceedings and secured a successful judgment.”

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