Monday, April 09, 2007

While waiting for my food to arrive at the fabulous Capital Noodle Bar in Plumstead Common Road. I was flicking through one of the thoughtfully provided newspapers and came across this article. You may wonder what relevance this has to The good people of Plumstead. Well not a huge amount unless you have boys who want a decent choice of non bigoted secondary schools to go to.

Political Correspondent

April 07, 2007

Lesbian teacher's £20k payout

A LESBIAN teacher won £20,000 compensation after being told she couldn’t have PATERNITY leave.

But another woman teacher who was RAPED by a 12-year-old pupil received just £11,000.

The cases emerged yesterday as it was revealed that payouts to teachers hit £20million last year.

Awards were made for reasons ranging from violent attacks at school to accidents and unfair dismissal.

The lesbian teacher wanted time off to help her partner give birth — but this was refused by the Roman Catholic school where she worked.

It said her lifestyle was “unacceptable” and warned she would be dismissed if she did not find another job immediately.

The unnamed teacher quit, but the National Union of Teachers took up her case.

The NUT won her £20,000 for breach of sexual orientation, paternity and adoption leave regulations.

That award was almost DOUBLE the compensation given to a teacher after a boy at her school raped her, then escaped in her car.

Graham Clayton, senior lawyer at the NUT, said payouts in criminal cases were not always satisfactory.

He added: “In some cases these do not always produce the kind of justice we think is justified.”

Tories branded the difference in payouts “perverse”. MP Philip Davies said: “Political correctness has taken over.

“We have got ourselves into an offensive situation when it is deemed twice as serious for a lesbian to be denied some time off as it for a teacher to suffer the physical and mental horror of rape.”

Well lets get one thing out of the way first of all, I think it is disgraceful that the poor woman who was raped and had her car stolen only got £11,000 compensation. This is the fault of the way in which Criminal injuries compensation is calculated. The issue of the apalling treatment of a teacher by a Roman Catholic school is a wholly separate issue, and is the one which has implications for the good people of Plumstead. Unfortunatly the Sun tried to link two separate issues in order to ilicit a homophobic response. It is sad that a Tory MP fell for this and just goes to show that the 'nasty party' is alive and well, despite David Cameron's attempts to drag the Conservative Party kicking and screaming into the 20th Century. (alas getting them into the 21st is probably beyond him).

What the rent a quote Tory hack did was to trivialise what had happened to the lady in question, she was not just 'denied some time off'. She was denied equal treatment, to which she is entitled to under the law, and was threatenen with the loss of her career, not because there was anything wrong with her teaching, but because the narrow minded biggoted attitude of her employer. I think the school was lucky to get away with only having to pay £20,000 compensation.

If this incidence of blatent discrimination and Homophobia were an isolated incident it would not be that much of an issue, however the reason why the school thought it was acceptable to behave the way it did is because it is a Catholic school. The advice of the Catholic Church is that homophobic bullying should not be mentioned in a schools anti-bullying policy. So I checked our local Catholic school's website,

  • St Pauls Academy

  • and sure enough, there is a mention of racism ('racist remarks'), but a big fat silence on homophobia. Why does this matter? Because in 2004 the Council forced the run down and eventually the closure of Abbey Wood School, so they could give the site to an expanded Catholic school. This means that if you have sons going to secondary school and you want them to get a education free from discrimination and biggotry, they can't go to Eaglesfield, because it has closed, Woolwich Polytechnic School has moved to Thamesmead and Abbey Wood School is closed to new admissions.

    Quite why Greenwich Council thinks it acceptable to impose biggoted and medieval attitudes on local children is quite beyond me. It is about time that so called faith schools were given the boot and consigned to the dustbin of history where they belong.

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    At 9:23 pm, Anonymous Nigel said...

    Sounds very shabby.
    I am against faith schools, because it is immoral and unfair to take taxpayers money and then discriminate against large parts of those same taxpayers' children in the provision of services. And then there's the bigotry and discrimination encouraged by their teaching, as this article points out.
    So did you pinch the Sun from the Noodle Bar, or do you have a photographic memory? I'm really hoping that you didn't give Murcoch your hard earned pennies and buy a copy!

    At 9:37 pm, Blogger sibonetic said...

    Certainly didn't give Murdoch my pennies, having got hot under the collar when I read it, just cut and pasted the article from the website.


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