£14,000 for school secretary who had an affair with head
A school secretary who had an affair with a ‘super-head’ brought in to turn around her failing school has been awarded £14,000 after he kept his job and she couldn’t carry on in hers.
Angela Honeywell agreed the out-of-court settlement with education bosses at Wiltshire Council before the start of an industrial tribunal where she would claim constructive dismissal against Clarendon College in Trowbridge.
The affair and very public fall-out caused a scandal in the town in the summer and autumn of 2011, just when Mark Stenton, the head teacher brought in to the secondary school earlier that year to turn around its fortunes, was already causing controversy.
Clarendon had earlier been put into special measures after a damning Ofsted inspection and Mr Stenton was brought in to bring the school back up to standard. His affair with Mrs Honeywell, who worked on the school’s admin team, began soon after he arrived and by that summer, Mrs Honeywell’s husband Chris had moved out of the family home, and Mr Stenton had moved in.
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But when the married couple were reconciled in October 2011, the police were called to their home to keep Mr Stenton away – he was seen by neighbours trying to kick in the door of the house in Bradford Road, Trowbridge.
He later sent a text to the Honeywells’ teenage daughter – a pupil at his school – threatening suicide.
Mr Stenton kept his job after an investigation by governors, but when Mrs Honeywell returned, she claimed her job was left untenable.
She left her job formally in April last year, after an extended period off sick.
She claimed constructive dismissal, wrongful dismissal and detriment against both Wiltshire Council and the academy trust of Clarendon Academy. In the time between Mrs Honeywell leaving and her case being heard now, Clarendon College became an academy school and left local authority control, but the case related to a period when the school was being overseen by Wiltshire Council – so the case was against the council too.
A claim against Mr Stenton for sexual harassment was dismissed at an earlier hearing.
Mr Stenton declined to comment yesterday, but a statement was issued on behalf of both the school and Wiltshire Council. “The priority of everyone concerned is to ensure the pupils have the best learning environment possible, without unnecessary distractions,” the joint statement said.