Case on dismissal of St Andrew’s junior school head to be heard

Former principal claims she was unfairly sacked from fee-paying south Dublin school

A top private fee-paying school, St Andrew's College, is to tell the Circuit Civil Court its side of the story in a row that led to the junior school's principal, Dr Jacquie Campbell, having been sacked last month.

Mark Connaughton SC, who appeared on Thursday with barrister Tom Mallon for the College, told Judge Jacqueline Linnane that he would be putting in an affidavit replying to Dr Campbell's allegations already before the court.

Barrister Mairead McKenna, who appears with Hayes Solicitors for Dr Campbell, said her client would also be providing the court with further evidenced.

Mediation talks between the parties had taken place last week in a bid to settle, on the suggestion of the judge, the legal proceedings instituted by Dr Campbell who is claiming she was unfairly dismissed and is seeking a court order directing her reinstatement.

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Dr Campbell has told the court she was head of the junior fee-paying primary school which has 28 teachers. She had been appointed 11 years ago to what she described as a prestigious position carrying a significant remuneration package.

She is challenging what she describes as a purported and allegedly unlawful decision of the college to terminate her position which, she claimed, was clearly and inextricably linked to complaints she had made to the college principal and the board ofgovernors.

Dr Campbell claims she had not been given any support in dealing with “one particularly difficult family” in the school. She alleged she had suffered “aggressive conduct” from the family concerned, unprecedented in her 33 years of teaching. She had felt increasingly threatened and intimidated.

She said, in a sworn statement, that she had been shocked when called to a disciplinary meeting for “conduct causing concern to the board of governors.” She had not been suspended but had been dismissed on October 11th last which she considered devastating and damaging to her.

The proceedings have been put back for a further week. St Andrew’s co-educational and inter-denominational college in Booterstown Avenue, Blackrock, Co Dublin, can boast a famous alumni representative of a who’s who in the world of sports, the arts and politics .

Overall the college has 1,300 pupils and 100 teachers and charges fees of €8,290 for enrolment in its Junior School, €6,590 for secondary school and €8,700 for its international baccalaureate degree programme.