Head of girls' school sacked after setting up Facebook page called BRAS


The principal of a girls' school was sacked after setting up a Facebook page called BRAS.

Bernie Routledge claims he was unfairly dismissed by the school after putting the site up in tribute to himself: the Bernie Routledge Appreciation Society.

But his bosses said he breached his own rules, along with other allegations of misconduct, and he was dismissed.

Mr Routledge has now taken his employers to an employment tribunal in Wrexham, Wales.

It heard that Mr Routledge set up the BRAS page while head of the £18,000 a year girls-only Howell's School in Denbigh north Wales.

Mr Routledge, who was principal of the school for nine months before he was sacked in May 2011, is said to have used the page to interact with pupils over two days in 2009.

At the tribunal, John Benson, representing Mr Routledge, questioned Howell's School trustee Robert Locke's handling of the situation.

The hearing was told that there were 10 allegations of misconduct against Mr Routledge, of Gwernaffield near Mold, number one being social networking with children.

Mr Locke said: "Mr Routledge wrote the social networking rules himself, which he breached."

He added that he had contacted children's services and the police, but was told it was not a criminal matter and should be dealt with by the school.

According to a report in the Daily Mail, Mr Benson asked Mr Locke why he never spoke to Mr Routledge about the Facebook page before suspending him.

He also claimed Mr Locke was already 'livid' with the principal following a boarding inspection and said it was the start of a campaign to get rid of him. Mr Locke admitted there were 'procedural flaws for not permitting an appeal for Mr Routledge'.

Mr Routledge's partner, Helen Price, former head of pastoral care at the school, is also claiming unfair dismissal. She was pregnant at the time of her sacking.

Mr Locke, who dismissed Mr Routledge following an investigation carried out by his brother Alan Locke, said of Ms Price's dismissal: "It was abrupt and because of her conduct at Mr Routledge's disciplinary hearing there was a complete breakdown of mutual trust.

"Ms Price was a child protection officer at the school and in our view she failed as she was in a relationship with the headmaster.

"I am concerned there was no whistleblowing from Ms Price regarding Mr Routledge."

The tribunal continues.