Headmistress is fired after she awarded school building projects worth half a MILLION pounds to her husband
- Ruth Ejvet allowed contracts at her London school to be awarded to her husband
- One job was given to Nish Ejvet’s company even though their bid was the highest
- Ruth was fired from the school in Barking but is in a legal fight to be reinstated
Published: 17:05 EDT, 26 May 2019 | Updated: 17:05 EDT, 26 May 2019
A headteacher was sacked after her husband’s building company was awarded £500,000 of work at her school, an employment tribunal has heard.
Ruth Ejvet allegedly allowed a £145,000 contract to go through without considering other bids despite knowing it was against government guidelines.
The three-phase project, which involved a two-storey extension with a new boardroom, staffroom and toilets, went ahead in 2017 despite alleged shortages of teaching staff and resources including IT equipment and interactive whiteboards.
Ruth Ejvet was headteacher at the school when her husband Nish was awarded building contracts worth £500,000
But the work allegedly resulted in ‘stinking’ toilets and £100,000 had to be spent to put right problems, the tribunal heard.
In 2014 a development was signed off in favour of her husband Nish, despite it being the most expensive of four bids, it was claimed. In total, his firm, Elite Building and Maintenance Services, was awarded £500,000 of work at St Margaret’s Church of England School in Barking, east London.
The tribunal was held after Mrs Ejvet, 57, claimed she was unfairly dismissed for gross misconduct. She is suing Genesis Education Trust for £1,194,000, alleging that she was sacked for making 23 whistleblowing disclosures.
But the academy trust, which said it unearthed ‘financial misconduct’ after it took over the school and carried out an audit, told the tribunal it had discovered a string of failures.
Ruth Ejvet had also given her daughter and a friend teaching jobs without carrying out criminal record checks
These included Mrs Ejvet giving her daughter Amy and a friend, Abi Khan, teaching posts without carrying out criminal record checks, and hiring two cleaners who didn’t have the right to work in the UK.
Mrs Ejvet told the tribunal: ‘I have worked in education for 32 years. My career has been totally unblemished and has always been on an upward trajectory.’
Mr Ejvet declined to discuss the case when approached on Thursday, after the tribunal had finished hearing evidence.
But he said: ‘We have been operating with integrity all the way through.’
During the hearing, the Reverend Canon Ade Ademola, a director at the trust, accused Mrs Ejvet of presiding over ‘exceptionally serious’ failures which could have resulted in the school being placed immediately into special measures.
Speaking about the last contract awarded to her husband’s firm, he said: ‘She would have known it goes against the local government and government guidelines for what the tendering process should be. You don’t even have to be a governor – you can google it.’ He added that the building was ‘very obviously… of poor quality’.
East London Employment Tribunal heard that the school became part of the academy trust in April 2017. Mrs Ejvet, who earned £77,738 and lives in a £900,000 six-bedroom semi-detached house in Theydon Bois, Essex, went off sick that July. She was suspended after concerns emerged and was sacked in January last year.
Mrs Ejvet is demanding she is reinstated. She also claims breach of contract, unfair dismissal and discrimination on the grounds of disability when she was off sick due to work stress caused by the investigation into her conduct.
The tribunal will publish its judgment at a later date.
Ruth Ejvet was fired from St Margaret’s Church of England School in Barking, east London but is fighting a legal battle to be reinstated