Dec 6 2012 by Hannah Bewley, Harrow Observer
A FORMER headteacher is claiming he was unfairly dismissed after he faced nine allegations of gross misconduct relating to financial negligence and missing school to watch football matches.
Alan King was dismissed from Furness Primary School, Furness Road, Harlesden, in October last year after being suspended in January the same year. He has lodged a claim against Brent Council which opened at Watford Employment Tribunal on Tuesday.
Mr King, who has worked as a teacher in the borough since 1978, ran up bills of up to £2million for photocopiers and computer equipment from supply company LTM, which then later became COS, despite receiving warnings from Brent Council.
Mr King met with David Sawyer from LTM after Sabina Nettie, headteacher of Princess Frederica, had done so in 2003, and took out a number of leases for photocopiers, the hearing heard. He made deals for large amounts of money and David Mitchell, acting for the respondent, said: “You took out £2m worth of contracts between January 2007 to July 2010. Six of those are still live and will cost £1.4m if they are allowed to run their course. Bailiffs presented themselves at the school trying to get their money back.”
Despite warnings in emails and letters from Brent Council, Mr King continued to make deals with Mr Sawyer.
Mr Mitchell said: “What we have here is you deliberately misleading the local authority with Mr Sawyer and deliberately ignoring advice and entering into these financial agreements.”
Mr King said he believed he was not making new deals but was renewing and consolidating existing ones.
The 57-year-old, of Mapesbury Road, Kilburn, says Brent Council contacted all other primary schools about the leases and eight were found to have breached financial regulations in relation into leasing agreements.
Mr King says, despite this, he was the only headteacher to be dismissed from a small group of schools in south Brent because all the other headteachers ‘were female and black’.
Mr King claims there was a cabal against him and a group of political opponents at the council who wanted him gone.
In his witness statement, Mr King said when Tottenham qualified for the Champions League in 2010 he went to two matches in Europe with permission from the governors.
The case continues and is due to last 10 days.