Page last updated at 13:02 GMT, Monday, 29 December 2008

Teacher who wore trainers fired

A teacher who was sacked for wearing trainers and tracksuit bottoms to school says it may lead to a strike.

Special needs teacher Adrian Swain, 56, was fired from St Paul's Way Community School in Bow, east London, for refusing to follow its dress code.

Mr Swain said teachers at the secondary school were calling for a ballot on industrial action in protest.

Tower Hamlets Council said a teacher was fired for failing to comply with "a reasonable management instruction".

'Singled out'

Mr Swain, from Stratford, east London, said he wore tracksuit bottoms and trainers to school throughout his 30-year teaching career without any complaints.

He was fired earlier this month for refusing to follow a "bizarre" dress code imposed by an acting head teacher, Mr Swain said.

"I was singled out and fired while other staff have regularly worn banned items," he added.

It is vital that standards are set in terms of appearance and behaviour
Tower Hamlets Council

"It is clear that this is not about what I wear or what kind of teacher I am.

"This is victimisation because I have consistently worked to protect union members against bullying and intimidation."

A spokeswoman for Tower Hamlets Council said the decision to dismiss the teacher followed discussion between the council, the school and trade unions.

"Staff in Tower Hamlets schools are expected to set a good example to the students they teach," she said.

"It is vital that standards are set in terms of appearance and behaviour, and staff are asked not to wear items of clothing that students are not permitted to wear themselves."

The teacher has the right to appeal against his dismissal, she added.

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