Staff divided on Salford principal's behaviour

IN LIMBO: Salford School principal Marlene Campbell.
IN LIMBO: Salford School principal Marlene Campbell.

A consultant who investigated complaints about a former Salford School principal says staff appeared to be divided over her behaviour.

Concerns about former principal Marlene Campbell's behaviour were raised yesterday at the Employment Relations Authority investigation meeting. The meeting was sought by Campbell against Salford School after she was dismissed as principal in March.

Galloway Cook Allan consultant Geoffrey Bevan yesterday said past and present staff members and board members were interviewed regarding concerns raised about Campbell's actions and behaviours at the school.

It was a mixed bag of reaction from those interviewed, with some saying she had been "great" while others raised concerns.

Some of those concerns including the way she would speak to staff and children and one referred to their working life as being awkward, he said.

One person referred to Campbell as "top rate" and said she had not been mean to children, Bevan said.

Campbell had said there was nothing wrong and she did not yell at children or staff members, he said.

Earlier this week Campbell's lawyer, Fiona McMillan, said several allegations made by staff members against Campbell had not been put to her for response before she was dismissed.

Campbell told the meeting this week that she was informed of the suspension at the last minute on a Friday and staff were not informed until early on the Monday morning.

She described her suspension as "living in limbo".

Authority member Mike Loftus told Campbell he was not there to judge whether she was a good principal, but to determine whether she had been unfairly dismissed.

The hearing is expected to finish today.

The school was put under statutory management in November 2012 after an Education Review Office report noted staffing issues at the school.

Campbell was suspended a year later, before being dismissed by commissioner Nicola Hornsey this year.

The Southland Times