Head teacher Neil Foden denies 'climate of fear' at school

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Neil Foden
Image caption,
Mr Foden said he had worked at Ysgol Friars for more than 20 years

A Gwynedd head teacher has denied there is a "climate of fear" at his school.

Neil Foden denies three allegations of unacceptable professional conduct towards staff at Ysgol Friars, Bangor.

He was asked by his barrister, Jonathan Storey, if he recognised his school and leadership in the phrase "management by fear" which was used by one witness.

Mr Foden said he had heard it used twice, and on one of those occasions it prompted him to raise it in a meeting where staff denied any issues.

He told the hearing of the Education Workforce Council that he had used a slide with film character Ming the Merciless - the villain in the Flash Gordon series - to ask in a light-hearted way if people thought there was a climate of fear in the school, and staff had told him there was not.

Mr Foden is accused of singling out a teacher for disciplinary proceedings after a school trip was cancelled, and then referring to that teacher as "baby face" in conversations with the chair of governors.

He is also accused of providing a verbal reference for a teacher in which he said his employee was facing an allegation of malpractice when, in fact, the teacher had been cleared.

In response, Mr Foden said: "There was a sanction from the governing body against him, and it was still live."

Image source, Google
Image caption,
Mr Foden told the hearing he had improved the school's academic results and discipline while in charge

Giving further evidence, he was asked about his handling of a third incident involving a teacher known as "Person D" who was placed under a disciplinary investigation after removing a disruptive pupil from a controlled assessment, leaving the rest of the class briefly unattended.

"There were three issues which led me to decide this was a potential disciplinary matter," he said.

He claimed Person D had breached rules on controlled assessments, had left a group of children unattended and "effectively placed this boy in a cupboard".

The hearing at Ewloe, Flintshire, was told that nearly all staff at the school had signed a letter of support for Mr Foden.

The case continues.

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