Latest figures published by the school have revealed that a total of £1,173,508 has been spent on compensation and legal fees over the past two years of accounts.
An insurance pay-out for £150,000 in 2022 and £100,000 in 2021 meant the the total costs incurred by the academy school were £923,508.
Chair of trustees Anthea McIntyre told the Gazette: “It is a matter of great regret and concern that the school incurred these enormous costs.
“I would like to reassure everyone that this has not impacted on the education of our pupils, but it has reduced the reserves that had been built up over time by diligent management.
“We are now moving forward with Julian Morgan, our new headteacher, to ensure we provide the very best education for all young people in Ross and the surrounding area.”
The employment tribunal judgement in November 2020 ruling that former teacher Jo Lucas had been unfairly dismissed highlighted a “significant animus” towards her by the school–particularly from then headteacher Nigel Griffiths, who resigned at the start of last year.
It was, ruled the tribunal. “inextricably linked” to her activities as a representative for the National Union of Teachers.
The panel found that Mrs Lucas had been targeted in a skewed disciplinary process aimed at getting rid of her in March 2017.
The school claimed she was dismissed for gross misconduct following poor exam results, after a reasonable, independent investigation and a fair appeals process which she “failed to engage” with, and claimed it had been provided with misleading grade predictions and faked data.
But the tribunal ruled that she had been unfairly dismissed, while the school had failed to make reasonable adjustments for her disability and had treated her unfairly because of her trade union activities while working at John Kyrle.
It said her deteriorating health as a result of arthritis – which the tribunal found was downplayed by the school – provided mitigation, and the 70-page ruling drew “adverse inferences” from Mr Griffiths’ failure to attend any of the 10-day hearing in Birmingham.
“The Tribunal concluded on the basis of all of the evidence we heard that the main purpose for proceeding down a misconduct process – with allegations of wilful, deliberate, falsifying conduct, and allegations of breach of trust – instead of a capability process which would consider the medical issues in more detail, was because of the significant animus that the respondent, and in particular Mr Griffiths, had towards the claimant,” said the judgement.
“We concluded that this animus was inextricably linked to the claimant’s trade union activities. It was this factor, we concluded, which triggered the disciplinary process instead of a capability process,” said the judgement.