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Last Updated: Tuesday, 17 May, 2005, 16:48 GMT 17:48 UK
Harry tape 'to prove cheat claim'
Sarah Forsyth
Sarah Forsyth says she was told to write text for Harry's art coursework
A sacked Eton art teacher says she taped a conversation with Prince Harry because claims she was forced into improperly helping him were ignored.

Sarah Forsyth, 30, wanted proof that she was pushed into doing some of the prince's AS-Level art coursework, a tribunal in Reading, Berkshire, heard.

The college and royal aides deny any suggestion of "cheating".

Ms Forsyth - who worked at Eton until her contract ran out in the summer of 2003 - is claiming unfair dismissal.

She claimed that Prince Harry was a "weak student" who needed to be helped and that the school's head of art, Ian Burke, had ordered her to write five pages of text to accompany a project by the prince.

She also alleged that Mr Burke had completed some of the Prince's artwork - a claim he denies.

In his closing submission to the employment tribunal, counsel for Ms Forsyth, Robin Allen QC, said she had raised complaints about Mr Burke with the deputy headmaster and a school governor by letter and e-mail respectively.

Is it surprising that she considered what steps would really make those in power sit up and notice what had happened to her
Robin Allen QC on his client Sarah Forsyth

But, Mr Allen said, a decision had been taken not to deal with the complaints.

He said his client had finally made the recording of the prince on the way to his exam in the summer of 2003 to force the school to deal with her allegations against Mr Burke.

Ms Forsyth has told the tribunal the prince then agreed he had only contributed a small part to his coursework journal text for the exam.

Mr Allen told the three-member tribunal panel: "It is clear that by the end of May the pressure on Sarah Forsyth was quite intolerable.

"She had been ignored and belittled. She was criticised for raising issues and expecting help."

'Not credible'

He went on: "Is it surprising that she considered what steps would really make those in power sit up and notice what had happened to her?

"She wished to get the proof which could not be denied that Ian Burke had behaved improperly and to force the school to address her issues."

Ms Forsyth needed the tape because otherwise the school would have denied the allegations, Mr Allen added.

Eton claims Ms Forsyth was only asked to help the prince with technical vocabulary and says she was dismissed because she was not up to the job.

Prince Harry
The Royal Family has strenuously denied there was any cheating

In his closing submission, Nigel Giffen QC, representing Eton, denied Ms Forsyth's employment would have been continued if she had not made the complaint.

"Is it really the case that capability is being put forward here in June 2003 as a smokescreen to conceal the fact that she was really being dismissed for writing that letter and sending that email?" he asked.

"I suggest that simply doesn't begin to be a credible proposition."

Mr Burke had not bullied Ms Forsyth, he had simply believed the teacher was not "doing the job terribly well" and had tried to improve the situation, Mr Giffen said.

The tribunal's decision is expected by early July.

Harry teacher taped 'confession'
14 Oct 04 |  Education

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