Headmaster had ‘sex at school with his married secretary’

Clarendon College headteacher Mark Stenton
Clarendon College headteacher Mark Stenton

A super headmaster had sex at his school with a married secretary, an employment tribunal.

Trouble-shooter Mark Stenton, 42, began his fling with brunette Angela Honeywell just weeks after starting his new job.

The tough-talking divorcee was put in charge of failing Clarendon College in Trowbridge, Wilts., with the task of pulling it out of special measures.

But as he brought in new rules on discipline he was enjoying “shared sexual encounters” on the school premises with Angela, 41.

Mum-of-three Angela – whose children were pupils at the school – left her heartbroken husband Chris and set up home with Mr Stenton.

But just three months later she ended the affair and decided to give her five-year marriage to carpet fitter Chris another go.

Enraged Mr Stenton stormed to her home and kicked in her front door and was ordered to leave by police.

He also sent a text threatening suicide to Angela’s 14 year-old daughter Amy.

Education chiefs and school governors investigated the turbulent tryst and Mr. Stenton was allowed to keep his £85,000-a-year job, despite protests from some parents.

But Angela left the school six months after the fling ended and launched legal action, claiming she was forced out of her admin post.

The school sex sessions were revealed at a pre-hearing review of the case in Bristol.

Elizabeth Cunningham, for Mr Stenton and the school, said: “This, from the beginning to the end, was a consensual sexual relationship and the documentation refers to shared sexual encounters taking place on school premises.

“This is accepted and happened around the first week in August 2011.”

Angela told the tribunal how she had lived in fear of the head and his ‘controlling nature’ after their romance ended.

Angela Honeywell and her husband Chris at their home
Angela Honeywell and her husband Chris at their home

She said: “I was so scared of him and I didn’t want to be under his control again and I was just so scared of being in contact with him in any way.

“People would joke about me, talk about what had happened in the press and make snide comments.

“At that time I had seen members of staff at Aldi just glare and look at me as if I was a piece of dirt and I was so ill after that so I thought there no way I could go back.”

Angela signed off sick from her job in November 2011, a month after ending her affair.

She claimed she was forced to give a £1,000 interview to a magazine because Mr Stenton had left her penniless.

She said: “He’d taken every penny I had and it was the only way I could pay my mortgage and I was overdrawn for the first time in my life.

“What I had left I gave to my children which I know isn’t much consolation but they’d had a rough time, that is what I regret most.

Clarendon College in Trowbridge, Wiltshire, where the trysts happened
Clarendon College in Trowbridge, Wiltshire, where the trysts happened

“I was so ill I went down to six stone in weight and wanted things to get back to normal. If I could turn back the clock I wouldn’t do it again.”

Angela went back to her job in April last year but handed in her notice the following month.

She said she found her position untenable and felt like a prisoner in her office.

“I had no understanding why I was being treated as an outcast by members of staff,” she said.

“I spent 99 per cent of my time in the office because I was too scared to leave.”

She is claiming constructive unfair dismissal, wrongful dismissal and detriment against the Academy Trust of Clarendon Academy and Wiltshire Council.

Employment judge Christa Christensen dismissed an allegation of sexual harassment against Mr Stenton, ruling that the time period to lodge the claim had passed.

She added that she was not satisfied with evidence asking her to extend the deadline.

The full employment tribunal is likely to be held in March or April.

Mr Stenton, who has an 11 year-old daughter, is working as normal at the school which last October was praised as having ‘outstanding leadership’ by Ofsted inspectors.

Steve Thompson-Martyn, chairman of governors at Clarendon College, said: “This is an ongoing case and it would be inappropriate to discuss or comment on any aspect of it.”


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