The head teacher of a Burton Catholic school has been dismissed from his job after 13 years. Neil Jinks was head teacher at Holy Rosary Primary Catholic School in Burton and was dismissed following four months of being suspended from his post over allegations of gross misconduct.
After his suspension in March this year, an investigation was undertaken at the school in Alexandra Road headed by the chairman of the school governors, Cecilia Emery. After this was concluded, Mr Jinks was sent a letter detailing the findings and he was invited to attend a disciplinary and grievance panel hearing where he was allowed to put his case.
Mr Jinks was informed by letter on July 27 that he had been dismissed. The following day a letter was sent out to parents at the school telling them what had taken place.
In a letter to parents, which the Burton Mail has seen a copy of, Ms Emery stated: "I am writing as agreed to inform you of the outcome of the investigation following the suspension at the end of March of the head teacher, Mr Jinks.
"Following a thorough and detailed investigation the outcome is that Mr Jinks has been dismissed on the grounds of five counts of gross misconduct. His dismissal is with immediate effect. We do wish it to be known and clear that the issues relating to Mr Jinks' dismissal is not connected to Mr Jinks' private life."
Mr Jinks claimed to the Mail that he feels he has been dismissed because of his intention to remarry after separating from his first wife around two years ago, which he alleges is frowned upon. When this allegation was put to the school's governing body by the Burton Mail, a spokesman said the reason for his dismissal was due to the alleged acts of gross misconduct.
Mr Jinks claimed that during his suspension period that: "I was banned from even setting foot in the school and wasn't even allowed to talk to staff. I even had to go through a union to let me talk to a couple of staff members, because they are close friends and family.
"I feel like I have been betrayed. There is absolutely nothing Christian about this whole situation, I feel. I believe that I have acted morally through all of this.
"It’s felt like I have been in hiding. I would go shopping in Burton and if I saw anyone from the school – parents or teachers, I had to turn around and leave the shop. Parents were told not to approach me."
He received a grievance letter from Ms Emery, on Tuesday, July 11, detailing the alleged acts of gross misconduct, which the Burton Mail has seen a copy of.
The first related to a report from Entrust, an organisation that works with Staffordshire County Council to help support schools in the area.
He was accused of not taking immediate action over unsafe water pipes at the school in December 2016. Mr Jinks insists the pipes were investigated by a specialised firm and found not to be unsafe so no further action was taken.
A second allegation related to a visit to the school by the chairman of governors when it was highlighted that a fire risk assessment form was competed incorrectly by Mr Jinks. He maintains that the form was not filled in by him, but by someone else.
The third allegation involved appointments of staff, with the governors claiming that Mr Jinks did not follow the correct procedure when appointing some members of staff. Appropriate documentation when appointing staff and procedures were unclear, the governors said.
However Mr Jinks claims in the case in question he was not involved in the hiring process because he had a connection to the candidate and chose to leave the room during the interview process.
The fourth involved risk assessment for children being taken out of school to sports competitions, which could not be found during Ms Emery's investigation at the school, it said in the letter. Mr Jinks alleges that it was destroyed or hidden. "I know it was definitely there".
The letter said there was "erious concern as to whether there has been a breakdown in trust and confidence between you and members of the senior management team and a number of governors based on the overwhelming weight of issues arising".
Responding to the letter Mr Jinks claimed: "This is drawing a clear conclusion before I have had an opportunity to make my case."
He added: "I have not and will not lose faith in the Catholic structure."
Mr Jinks has also confirmed that he is now commencing legal proceedings against his sacking.
A parent at the school, who asked to remain anonymous, has claimed many parents back Mr Jinks.
She said: "When he was first suspended in March, a reason or explanation wasn't given to parents at all. Mr Jinks always seemed to be the most polite and effective head teacher who really put the children’s interest first.
"The majority of parents feel the same as me, but most are scared to talk and risk their children’s place in the school and don’t want to damage Mr Jinks' case any further.
"I have no faith or confidence in the people running the school at the moment."
When Mr Jinks, who has been a teacher for 31 years, was suspended from his role as head teacher deputy head teacher Tim Brogan took over.
Tim Brogan was put in place by the school’s governing body, the Nottingham Roman Catholic Diocesan Education Service, The organisation's representative, Reverend Andrew Cole has released a statement on the dismissal of Mr Jinks saying: "Neil Jinks, head teacher of Holy Rosary Catholic Primary School in Burton was suspended at the end of March.
"Following a thorough and detailed investigation on behalf of the governing body, Mr Jinks has been dismissed for gross misconduct with immediate effect. Mr Jinks' dismissal on five counts was not connected to his private life or on the basis of inappropriate relationships with children either at the school or elsewhere.
"No further comment will be made concerning Mr Jinks' dismissal and Tim Brogan has been appointed as acting head until August 31, 2018 to head and strengthen the school for the benefit of pupils and staff."