The dedicated headteacher of a problem school has been sacked despite being cleared of assault after an 18-month police investigation – for failing to fill in ONE form.
Inspirational Trystan Williams, 43, won an award from Prince Harry for his work with troubled pupils at a school for students with complex social and learning difficulties.
But his career is in tatters after he found himself unfairly accused of assaulting an unruly student who ended up in hospital after a fracas with teachers.
Devoted Mr Williams suffered “18 months of hell” as police investigated the case – during which time he was re-bailed 11 times – before the CPS dropped it.
He was banned from living in his family home for seven months during the investigation and was forced to rent a tiny property alone.
Mr Williams was even stopped from seeing his wife and two children unsupervised for six weeks after the incident at Springfields Academy in Calne, Wilts.
But instead of getting his six-figure job back, school governors turned on him and refused to reinstate him on a red-tape technicality over an earlier separate incident.
They accused him of breaching regulations because the school failed to submit one piece of paperwork on an alleged incident between another teacher and a child.
Mr Williams – who was away from the school when the event happened – was fired for gross misconduct after losing an appeal this week.
He now plans to take take his case to an employment tribunal to clear his name.
He said: “I’ve always believed, as a father and as a teacher, that warmth, love and care are the most important things, and that dignity was ripped from me.
“For the first six weeks after the accident with a young person in school I couldn’t see my own children or my own wife unsupervised.
“It then took me seven months for me to be able to come home to my family home for 24 hours a day.
“My children have have to have psychotherapy because every time their dad went out they thought I wouldn’t return because I would be locked up again.”
He added: “I’m a professional, I’m a school leader.
“I’ve been locked up, I’ve been interviewed four times and I’ve been re-bailed 11 times.
“I’m here to work with young people, to transform lives, and the way I was treated was inhumane.”
Under his leadership Springfields Academy was rated outstanding by Ofsted in February 2013 and named Outstanding Special Needs and Overall Outstanding School of the Year at the 2012 TES Awards.
But in October 2013 there was an incident involving one challenging pupil and teachers stepped in to try and help.
Mr Williams is thought to have accidentally fallen on the child and the pupil was taken to hospital with stomach injuries.
He found himself arrested on suspicion of grievous bodily harm – together with his deputy – and was suspended by the school, although the governors supported him at first.
Mr Williams recalled: “I remember being in a line-up at the police station with a gang of people traffickers.
“They were all swearing and causing problems for the police, and I was just stood there quietly.
“It was a nightmare and it affected my children badly, I’m sure it will for a while.”
After a year on bail the CPS announced no charges would be brought against him or his vice principal James Lynch, who has also since been dismissed.
But governors then raised the issue over the ‘missing’ paperwork.
A form about an incident four months before his arrest had apparently not been submitted – as Mr Williams was away offering expertise at a special school in Sussex.
Mr Williams denies he failed to submit the paperwork and said: “In my eyes, paperwork had been sent to the local authority for scrutiny.”
Meanwhile the school’s Ofsted rating dropped to “adequate” after the most recent inspection in March 2014.
Mr Williams as been backed by parents who have sent him 200 letters of support since he was forced out the school.
Parent Jennifer Slade said: “There are so many parents and children who are behind him.
“I don’t know how to tell my son – it’s going to have a devastating effect on him.”
Another parent, Kirsty Ellicock, added: “Mr Williams is inspirational.
“I just think it’s a real shame the school has not felt the same since he has gone.”
A petition started by another parent Ruth Driver calling for his reinstatement has so far attracted 700 signatures.
The former diplomat said: “It is truly shocking how the governors have the power to sack a phenomenal head teacher because of some paperwork that apparently hasn’t been filed.”
He also has to find a new home for his teacher wife and their two young children as he has been ordered to leave his home at the school by the end of next week.
He is being supported by The National Association of Headteachers, which said: “Trystan Williams, a popular and successful local headteacher, has been dismissed from his post with immediate effect.
“This was for failing to remedy an omission of one of the documents in a referral of an incident to the Local Authority Designated Officer.
“Mr Williams has cooperated fully with the disciplinary process and maintains that the panel failed to take into account his previous outstanding record of achievement and perfect disciplinary record.
“This is devastating for him and his family – as well as for many staff, parents and pupils of the school.”
Ninna Gibson, chairman of governors at Springfields, refused to confirm the reason for Mr Williams’ dismissal.
She said: “We are now in a position to provide information about the long term absence of the principal and vice principal of the academy.
“We can confirm that both are no longer employed by the academy. For reasons of confidentiality we will not be providing detailed information about why they have left.”
Mr Williams started as a deputy head in 2002 before becoming head in 2005 and parents said he took in children deemed unteachable by other schools who flourished under his leadership.
He was named WellChild’s Best School Professional and presented an award from Prince Harry for his efforts to help troubled and unruly teenagers in 2008.