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Media Release: Independent review concludes Deputy Headmaster dismissal not justified

Media Release: Independent review concludes Deputy Headmaster dismissal not justified

Rohan Brown offered return to Trinity Grammar

Trinity Grammar announced today that it has offered Rohan Brown a return to the school as Deputy Headmaster, effective Monday 16 April.

The offer follows Trinity’s receipt of the findings and recommendations of an independent review into Mr Brown’s dismissal, carried out by Raymond Finkelstein AO QC and Renee Enbom.

The reviewers, who interviewed a long list of school community members over previous weeks, found that Mr Brown’s dismissal by the Council was not justified for the reason that:

  • While Mr Brown breached the school’s Code of Conduct, and this may have constituted serious misconduct justifying dismissal, the Headmaster, Dr Michael Davies, who had the right to dismiss, had chosen weeks earlier not to end Mr Brown’s contract; and
  • School Council, who dismissed Mr Brown following a Code of Conduct hearing, did not actually have the requisite authority to do so.

Trinity received the review’s recommendations last night, with Mr Finkelstein and Ms Enbom to provide a full report into their investigation in the coming days.

The five recommendations from the concluded review are:

  1. That School Council record in its minutes that it will not remove from the Headmaster the ability to dismiss teaching staff with the Headmaster being best placed to make staffing decisions (this relates to the Council’s decision to intervene and dismiss Mr Brown based on an understanding on the matter in March)
  2. That discussions should take place with Mr Brown to determine whether he wishes to resume his employment at the school, and if he does, the circumstances of his return
  3. That assuming Mr Brown resumes his position, the Headmaster should write to Mr Brown advising:
    – he should never in any circumstances cut a student’s hair,
    – how the school’s personal appearance policy should be enforced, for example, by sending a student home, and
    – any breach of the instructions may result in summary dismissal
  4. That the school should send a notice to parents setting out the manner in which the school will deal with students who do not conform with the personal appearance policy
  5. That it would not be proper for the Headmaster to revise Mr Brown’s duties, without consent, until the end of his five-year term as Deputy Headmaster and Head of Senior School.

 

In response to the review, Trinity’s School Council Chairman, Robert Utter said:

Having received and reviewed the findings and recommendations from the independent inquiry, we have accepted them and reached out to Rohan Brown to apologise for our decision to dismiss him in March.

We would also like to extend sincere apologies to the wider Trinity community, with the original decision creating concern for many.

The decision itself was not taken lightly at the time. It was based on an understanding of matters, which are now known to be different. That said, we accept full responsibility for making a decision that has ultimately been determined as wrong by eminent, qualified and independent examiners.

We hope Rohan accepts the offer to return to Trinity Grammar as Deputy Headmaster, working with Headmaster, Michael Davies, as he leads our fine school into the future.

The attention Trinity Grammar has attracted in recent weeks has been regrettable and we hope our school community can come together to move forward with care and respect.

This would see community members continuing with their commitment to the consultation and engagement program that’s underway and maintaining interest in a required review into the school’s governance and constitution.

 

Trinity Headmaster, Dr Michael Davies said:

My resolve to lead this great school has not wavered in recent weeks, and I continue to be committed to serving this community. I look forward to welcoming Rohan Brown back. Together, the talented teachers and support staff of Trinity have much work to do as we put focus on our fundamental priority, which is to develop our students into fine young men of the future.

Earlier this week, School Council updated the Trinity community on its transition plan, which will see current council members move off council and new people nominate for appointment. Applications for School Council close on 27 April and appointments of new directors are expected to be announced by 31 May. More information is available here.

Details of the school’s consultation and engagement program and governance review are available here.

-Ends-

For more information, please contact:
Kirsty Brown
Trinity Grammar School
+61 3 9854 3631.

To view a PDF of this media release, please click here.