A SCHOOL committee “trawled for criticism” of a teacher to unfairly fire her after more than 30 years’ service, a judge ruled.

Lyn Rodger will be paid £17,612.32 after an employment judge ruled she had been unfairly dismissed from Poppets Pre-School in Little Wakering in December last year.

The tribunal was overseen by Judge Catrin Lewis at the East London Hearing Centre in July.

The tribunal heard that Mrs Rodger, who was 69 at the time of dismissal, had been employed by the Poppets Nursery for 33 years, having been involved with it since its inception.

In June 2017, Mrs Rodger received an email from the management committee of the school saying she had been suspended pending further inquiry due the school not being able to open safely on the morning of June 12.

Mrs Rodgers had a pre-arranged appointment that morning, but despite the committee being aware, she was still suspended.

There then followed allegations the committee claiming Mrs Rodger had not followed direct instructions, refused to complete duties and had unauthorised absences.

In August, another letter was sent to Mrs Rodger with allegations including failing to have a positive attitude, a list of statements of complaints by other staff members and allegations in respect of some of the failings that make their way into the dismissal letter.

The letter referred to the warning for misuse of personal emails. This was the only written warning Mrs Rodger received in 33 years at the school and she was not given an opportunity to respond to the allegations.

She was dismissed on December 13 with a unanimous decision by the committee to terminate her contract without notice. Despite appealing, Mrs Rodger received no response.

Ruling in Mrs Rodger’s favour at the employment tribunal, Judge Lewis concluded: “I am satisfied that Mrs Maitland of the school committee did not carry out a fair or even-handed investigation.

“Rather than carrying out a fair investigation to establish the facts of each allegation she appears to have trawled for every possible criticism against the claimant.

“The claimant was not provided with any evidence in support of those allegations, apart from the complaints made by junior staff which were reported by Mrs Maitland.

“No reasonable employer would have reached the decision to dismiss the Claimant in the circumstances.”

Mrs Rodger’s compensation was based on her loss of wages between December and July this year, future loss of wages and loss of statutory rights.