Primary teacher sacked for 'homophobic and racist remarks left pupil in soiled clothes'

20 January 2022, 20:49 | Updated: 20 January 2022, 20:55

An employment tribunal criticised a teacher’s behavior an ruled out unfair dismissal (Google street view)
An employment tribunal criticised a teacher’s behavior an ruled out unfair dismissal (Google street view). Picture: Alamy

By Megan Hinton

A primary school teacher who was sacked for calling colleagues "fat sl**s" and leaving pupils in soiled clothes has had her unfair dismissal claim thrown out in court.

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Iqbal Khanem claimed she had been unfairly dismissed from New Christ Church Primary School in Reading, as a result of age discrimination.

But her claim was thrown out at an employment tribunal, after a judge was told the teacher used racist and homophobic language at work and failed to respond to children's needs.

Miss Khanem was dismissed in 15th May 2019, when at the time she was teaching a year one class of children aged five and six.

During the tribunal, Judge Rebecca Eeley heard how safeguarding concerns "based on neglect" had been raised after she left a child "crying loudly and uncontrollably" for 20 minutes whilst in class.

It was also said that Miss Khanem left a child in soiled clothes for 45 minutes and failed to notice another child had wet themselves after refusing to let the child use the toilet.

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It was alleged by another staff member that Miss Khanem spoke to a child in a "confrontational and unfriendly manner" leaving the pupil "clearly scared" by the incident which was described as "an abuse of power".

Later that day the child in question is said to have been excluded from an entire "golden time" reward session and had visibly been crying and was extremely upset.

The report added that Miss Khanem was "sarcastic and very negative and rude".

An allegation was also made that the primary school teacher had made a child get changed into different clothes in front of the rest of the class.

Miss Khanem - who the tribunal heard was of Asian origin herself - also mocked Asian parents by mimicking their accents which she brushed off as "light-hearted banter".

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Multiple members of staff suggested during her employment that Miss Khanem had acted in a way that was "racist, homophobic and derogatory" and could be viewed as "bullying" after she referred to a colleague as a "lesbian" and said "bloody lesbians" and regularly used the term "fat sl**s".

Rejecting her claims of unfair dismissal and age discrimination, employment Judge Rebecca Eeley, said the dismissal was not because of age.

She ruled: "The dismissal was, on the evidence we have heard, solely because of her conduct.

"The claimant's age was not an effective cause of the dismissal. It was not a material factor. It made no contribution to the decision."