Dirty linen: Ex-head to be called as witness in Purcell School court case

Dirty linen: Ex-head to be called as witness in Purcell School court case


norman lebrecht

November 21, 2013

The Watford employment tribunal, considering a claim for unfair dismissal and sexual discrimination, has demanded the recall of Peter Crook to give evidence at a 13-day hearing in May. Mr Crook disappeared from the school with a £200,000 payoff after being videod in what appeared to be inappropriate conversations with students. His testimony would cause extreme embarrassment to the institution.

In this week’s tribunal hearing, barrister  Tom Coghlin successfully argued that there had been a four year campaign of events against a teacher, Ian McMillan, initiated by the former Head Peter Crook and continued after Mr McMillan’s dismissal by the current Head, David Thomas.

 Mr Coghlin highlighted numerous examples of discrimination by the school towards Mr McMillan.
Access was requested by Mr McMillan to an Independent Review commissioned by Purcell school Governors in September 2009, following two investigations by Watford Police and Hertfordshire Social Services which resulted into the dismissal of Head Peter Crook in October 2011. It is thought the report contains homophobic evidence relevant to this case. Forty eight members of staff at the school contributed to this report, which was conducted by two retired Headmasters. The Review has never been made available to staff or new Governors.
It is proposed to call Mr Crook to the full Tribunal in May, next year, and the logistics of bringing him from Dubai, where he is now still teaching in a British school, was discussed.
It just gets worse and worse for the Purcell.
purcell ribbons


  • former pupil says:

    This school ought to be thoroughly investigated, and David Thomas and all the Governors resign in shame for bringing this once happy and successful music school into disrepute……..

    Poor staff and children trying to work and study here ………

    Like many former pupils, I am ashamed to mention any more that I studied at the Purcell school…….

    • Phil says:

      It’s getting that *I’m* embarrassed (not ‘ashamed’, exactly, since I’ve put in a lot of hard work) to mention that I studied classical music, period.

  • Steve says:

    “…payoff after being videod in what appeared to be inappropriate conversations with students”

    very well worded in this particular case.

  • Former student says:

    I am extremely pleased to hear that Peter Crook, the man who started off the downward spiral that Purcell has taken, will be called to account for his wrong and potentially illegal actions. I hope that David Thomas, another man who is ruining this school’s strong and precious identity, will have to explain himself at this hearing, too. My time at Purcell was invaluable: not only did I get an unrivaled musical experience there, but I also learnt how to deal with idiots (Crook, Thomas et al).

  • former pupil says:

    How brave of Mr Macmillen to stick with this after over two years.

    It may have cost him his part time work at the school, and sadly, also Mr Pooles job as our highly regarded Director of Music, but as former student rightly says above, it’s thanks to them both taking issue with this rotten school, that at long last, it will now have to be accountable for the damage the last and current headmaster and misjudged governers who foolishly appointed these idiots have done.

  • former pupil says:

    I wonder if Mr Crook, (reputedly teaching music in and English speaking public school in Dubai) has booked his air ticket to England yet……….