A FORMER boarding school principal has been awarded over £200,000 for unfair dismissal.
Bernie Routledge, former principal of Howell’s School in Denbigh won an unfair dismissal case at an employment tribunal in March and has now been awarded with £216,898 for unfair dismissal.
Helen Price, head of physical education, has also been awarded £83,537 for unfair dismissal.
Colin Adkins, from the NASUWT union, said: “They (school trustees Mr and Mrs Locke) wanted to deflect blame onto Bernie and Helen for their own mismanagement.
“I attended the creditors' meeting in Manchester and what brought about the closure was the withdrawal of goodwill by the Lockes (with regard to rent).
“Effectively the school was operating rent-free and in the end the Lockes insisted that they wanted to charge rent and that affected the balance sheets quite a lot and the biggest creditors are the Lockes themselves.”
The company, H2000 Ltd, running Howell’s School has liabilities of almost £1.2 million, it has been revealed.
In August the trustees of Howell’s School, Denbigh, announced that the 154-year-old school would not be re-opening.
It was also announced the company running the school, H2000 Ltd, which had taken over from Howells 2000 in January, had gone into liquidation.
The latest annual accounts lodged with Companies House for the year ending August 31, 2012, showed liabilities of £1,187,365, cash in the bank of £71,747, and assets of £301,951.
The net worth of the company was said to be -£481,135.
Another employee, Morwen Murray, 47, a senior mistress and head of music at Howell’s School, also won an employment tribunal on Friday.
Mrs Murray was was dismissed without notice in early August after she received a P45, a day before the school announced it was closing.
Mrs Murray successfully took H2000 Ltd, Howell's School, to an employment tribunal for unlawful deductions of earnings on Friday, September 6, as she took sick days.
She said: “There was a breakdown in relationship between myself and the Lockes.
“The school is so much more than the Lockes. It has been there for 154 years.”
Mrs Murray has worked at the school for 15 years and won £892 including costs.
She said: “I could understand deducting from earnings if they had to get a supply teacher in my place but they didn’t.”
“With the amount of tribunals they have lost there has been a catalogue of mistreatment of staff.
“It’s their behaviour that has caused the ending of that school.”
Mrs Murray will also be filing for unfair dismissal and data protection breaches.
Colin Adkins, from the NASUWT union, who represented Mrs Murray, said: "Howell's school is the worst employer in terms of its procedures towards its employees that I have ever had to deal with.
"This is all to do with contractual issues where the school tried to cheat at least ten members of the NASUWT out of money owed to them on leaving the school.
“We have had a 100 per cent success rate with our claims against Howell's.”