Saturday 14 August 2010

Adrian Swain Vindicated As Tower Hamlets Forced To Apologise

Some great news about an old friend, Adrain Swain. Adrian was sacked from St Paul's Way Community School in Bow in 2008 for refusing to accept a ban on teachers wearing trainers, which had been imposed by the school’s then head, Lorraine Page, without consultation with staff unions.

It was entirely coincidental, naturally, that Adrian also happened to be the very highly respected, left-wing NUT representative at the school, who had consistently fought to defend his colleagues and had opposed the imposition of a dress code!

But yesterday, the East London Advertiser reported the following:

Tower Hamlets council apologises to sacked teacher

THE East End teacher sacked for wearing trainers has been told by education chiefs he should not have been punished and has received an apology from Tower Hamlets council.

Adrian Swain was dismissed from St Paul's Way Community School in Bow in December 2008 for failing to adhere to the school's new dress code.

But the General Teaching Council for England (GTC) said he had "no case to answer" and that punishing him was not in the public interest.

He has also received an apology from Tower Hamlets council after bosses reported him to the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA), which usually assesses teachers who are at risk of causing harm to children.

Mr Swain told the Advertiser: "I had no idea that the case was going to be referred to the ISA. I feel vindicated. What I did was not unprofessional and what I was wearing was not inappropriate and managers were unreasonable to insist so.

"I am convinced I was targeted because I was a union representative and they had a plan to turn the trust into a school and knew the union would have fought it."

Mr Swain who worked as a Maths and deaf-support teacher as well as a PE teacher claimed at the time he had worn trainers and tracksuit throughout his 17-year career.

But the council has always insisted that he was fired for "continually failing to comply with a reasonable management instruction" and reported him to the ISA five months after he left the school.

In a letter from Town Hall bosses, Adrian has since been told his referral was not a "malicious or vindictive act".

The letter said: "I do apologise for any inconvenience that this may have caused you ... but want to assure you that this referral was made in good faith.

The claim that Adrian had not been reported to the Independent Safeguarding Authority for "malicious or vindictive" reasons is, of course, utter bullshit - it was a deliberate attempt to hound him out of the teaching profession by smearing him as a potential 'risk to children'.

Now that the council has been forced to apologise, I hope Adrian screws the bastards for compensation and demands his job back - and that those unprincipled 'comrades' in the East London Teachers Association who failed to fully back him now have the decency to apologise too.


Anonymous said...

Kevin, I don't agree with your views. If you are a teacher then you are a role model, you should set the standard and dress smartly.

Perhaps, I am in love with those 1950s films, when wearing a suite was the norm, but I feel the world as gone too casual.

The result is that I have people turn up for jobs interviews in trainers with a bad suit, when asked why they were not wearing formal shoes, they said it hurt their feet. If people are not sure to formal wear, how can they cope in the workplace?

George B said...


Bluntly and well said regarding Adrian's case. As subsequent events at St Paul's Way school illustrated only too amply after Adrian's sacking in December 2008, the issue was never really what he wore on a job he did extremely well for more than three decades, but his role as an effective union rep.
Sadly, the leadership of his local NUT association did not react in a commensurate fashion to the attack despite the backing Adrian commanded from the vast majority of NUT members at the school.
George B, N16.

Ray said...

I worked as a drug counsellor for the NHS in Islington and wore trainers a lot of the time. On days that I wore trainers I felt slightly more capable of doing my job. I just don't know why but isn't that silly? I think a good pair of smart trainers made me more empathetic and intuitive. Where as, brogues and stiff leather uppers (people sometime forget that a lot of trainers have soft leather uppers) made me feel closed in and defensive. Not a good look for a drugs counsellor.

Having been raised on 80's films I think their influence has affected my preference. Seldom did I feel a danger to clients in my trainers. Apart from when I went through a phase of wearing those really thick laces and leaving them undone in a South Bronx style. The threat of tripping up and knocking someone over was a risk so I was obliged to take them out when I did my ward rounds.

I hope Tower Hamlets have done a proper risk assessment of all shoes because it would be a breach of their duty to care for such an important issue to be treated frivolously.

Anonymous said...


Your views are well out of touch with reality. I work in this school and did throughout this ridiculous ordeal. I never once saw him teach PE and therefore makes the whole POINTLESS argument void.

The East London Staff who did not support him were well within their right to do so, and probably felt that real important issues should be fought rather than meaningless self indulgent ones.


PE Teacher SPWTS

Matt said...


I picked this story up randomly and was bemused by the whole situation.

PE teachers... wear sports equipment as a basic necessity. What kind of nonsense is imposing a business dress code on PE teacher. Ask him to wear school branded clothing and clean, smart looking gear by all means but shoes!?

What did they expect him to teach PE wearing? Brogues and a double breasted suit!?!?!

If he wasn't a PE teacher then I don't understand how he got away with wearing trainers for so long. But there seems to be some confusion. Is he a PE teacher or not? Simple question I hope to have answered.

Matt, PE Trainee Teacher in Doncaster and interested reader.

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