A NEW Basingstoke headteacher is embroiled in a row with his last employer and is taking his case to tribunal.

Paul Mundy-Castle was dismissed from his role as headteacher at Woodcote High School in Croydon in July last year.

The award-winning headteacher, who was named London's Teacher of the Year in 2005, has now started a new position as interim headteacher at The Coppice Spring Academy, in Pack Lane, Basingstoke – a secondary school for pupils with behavioural, emotional, and social difficulties.

A claim from Mr Mundy-Castle against Woodcote High School has been accepted by London South Employment Tribunal, however it is yet to set a date. The specific details of the claim have not yet been made public.

However Mr Mundy-Castle has posted on his public LinkedIn profile that the claim relates to a contract to build a new canteen.

Catch-22, the social business that runs Coppice Spring Academy, said it was aware of Mr Mundy-Castle’s position.

A spokeswoman said: “He has been fully transparent with us about the circumstances around leaving Woodcote High School. It is not our place to comment further on this, as there are matters still left unresolved.”

She added: “There are legal proceedings currently underway against his former employer. As such, we’re not in a position to reveal the details of the circumstances around him leaving Woodcote.”

Mr Mundy-Castle, a former professional basketball player, is one of only around 40 black headteachers in England. He has been vocal in his mission to break down race barriers in schools and to inspire children from BAME communities through his social media accounts as well as several media appearances.

He left Woodcote High School in December 2020. A letter sent to parents from the chair of governors at Woodcote said that Mr Mundy-Castle was “on personal leave until the end of the year”.

In an update given in May 2021, it was confirmed that an acting headteacher had been appointed because of the “continued absence for personal reasons of Mr Mundy-Castle”. Parents were then informed in August of his dismissal.

Hiten Savla, chair of governors at Woodcote School, confirmed to the Gazette that he sent a letter to parents in August last year informing them that Mr Mundy-Castle had been dismissed. He said the matter was dealt with internally by the trust and he was unable to disclose any details.

An anonymous petition was launched on Change.org calling on the school’s governors for an explanation.

It said: “Without explanation he left in December 2020 and parents were never given a clear explanation as to why. We deserve an explanation for our children.”

Parents at Coppice Spring Academy were informed that Mr Mundy-Castle would be joining the team from after the February half-term break until the end of the summer term, whilst the school looks to recruit a permanent headteacher.

Catch-22 sent the following statement from Mr Mundy-Castle, who said: “I am excited about the opportunity of supporting the staff, students, and community in Hampshire as we seek to improve the school. I am also particularly excited about returning to Hampshire where I previously played professional basketball for the Solent stars in 1999, so returning to Hampshire feels like an amazing homecoming.”

Mr Mundy-Castle said he was not able to comment. Woodcote High School also declined to comment.

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