Keystone Law’s barrister Marcus Lavell has successfully advised former headteacher Mrs Pepe Hart in her defence of allegations concerning issues around safeguarding.
Mrs Hart is the former Headteacher of “Trinity Academy” (‘the School’). Having had a distinguished and highly successful career, including being awarded a ‘Pride of Britain’ award for ‘Teacher of the Year’ and being recognised nationally for her positive influence within education and for providing an outstanding education for children in a deprived area, Mrs Hart resigned from her position in December 2015 due to a social media campaign against her.
The former headteacher was the target of unsubstantiated allegations relating to safeguarding. Over the past seven years these allegations have been made on numerous occasions to state bodies for consideration but have all been thrown out.
The allegations were considered by the Disclosure and Barring Service and the National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL) but both bodies identified there was no case to answer, and closed the matter.
The allegations were put to the NCTL in 2017, with a number of those allegations not originally pursued by the NCTL being taken forward onto official proceedings against Mrs Hart. However, she once again, successfully defeated them.
In November 2022, the TRA (the body that replaced the NCTL during the course of Mrs Hart’s proceedings) formally found for Mrs Hart, and determined that the second wave of safeguarding allegations were not proven, saying:
“An area of evidence in respect of which there was little dispute related to Mrs Hart’s commitment to improving the lives of pupils. In addition to witnesses called on behalf of Mrs Hart, the majority of former teachers who gave evidence on behalf of the TRA acknowledged that Mrs Hart always put the interests of pupils first.”
Although the TRA Panel found the evidence provided by the TRA’s witnesses to be insufficient to support the safeguarding allegations, the TRA Panel recommend that Mrs Hart is prohibited from working as a teacher, albeit with the shortest possible review period, that being two years due to her behaviour towards staff in spite of the fact that “the panel had regard to Mrs Hart’s ability to make an exceptional contribution to the education of pupils …”.
Marcus Lavell said:
“These were weak but potentially damaging allegations, and it is only right that Mrs Hart’s name has been cleared in relation to the claims around safeguarding.”
Mrs Hart plans to appeal the TRA/Secretary of State’s decision.