Primary school principals support Tandragee head

David Gillespie.
David Gillespie.

A group of primary school principals have given their public backing to Tandragee Junior High School headmaster David Gillespie.

In a letter written to the Portadown Times, the principals backed Mr Gillespie following the publication of a Labour Relations report in last week’s paper.

The heads of Clare Primary School, Moyallen Primary School, Mullavilly Primary Schools, Poyntzpass Primary School and Tandragee Primary School have all signed the letter strongly backing Mr Gillespie.

The Labour Relations Agency had upheld a grievance case taken by an employee against the headmaster and ruled that Mr Gillespie’s behaviour had the effect of “humiliating and demeaning” a staff member at the school.

Six complaints against the headmaster, vice-principal Laverne Inns and a member of the Board of Governors Rosalyn Bell were not upheld.

In their letter, the headmasters condemned the publication of the report in the paper.

“We wish the readers of your paper to know we meet regularly with Mr D Gillespie of Tandragee Junior High School. We have been doing so for a number of years. We are appalled at the disgraceful coverage in the Portadown Times regarding him,” said the principals.

“In all our collective years working with Mr Gillespie we have never known him to be anything but courteous, supportive and loyal with all staff in the respective primary schools.

“How the paper can publish such a vicious, personal attack leaves us disgusted.

“We wish our collective support of Mr Gillespie who has worked tirelessly with the primary schools to be printed in the Portadown Times in support of all he has done for Tandragee Junior High School and local primary schools over many years.”

The Portadown Times has also received letters of support from members of the public for Mr Gillespie.

One letter writer described him as an “upstanding gentleman”.

She said, “David Gillespie is held with extreme high regard. He is fair, respectful, honest and is a gentleman of great integrity. He has an unfaltering commitment to pupils, parents, staff and the wider community.

“David Gillespie can hold his head high. “