Hundreds pledge support for sacked Hackney primary school caretaker

Jim Gallant

Jim Gallant - Credit: Jim Gallant

Hundreds of parents have signed a petition calling on the Mayor of Hackney to support their primary school caretaker, who has been sacked after 16 years’ service.

Jim Gallant was found guilty of five counts of gross misconduct by governors at Rushmore School in Elderfield Road, Lower Clapton.

He and his family risk eviction from their schoolhouse home, and he is taking the case to an employment tribunal in January.

Mr Gallant, who is unable to speak out about the case so as to not jeopardise the hearing, claims his dismissal came after he pointed out serious health and safety issues.

His concerns included blaming the school for not mending an unstable wall in a timely manner which “could have killed a child”, for failing to safeguard children while workmen were left unsupervised in their toilets, for leaving a faulty fire safety panel for 18 months before fixing it, and allowing contractors to put dirty tools on the kitchen counters while food was being prepared.

The petition launched on his behalf, which has over 500 signatures, states: “This travesty has happened not because Jim wanted to gain any recognition, but because he believed that there were serious health and safety issues that were consistently being ignored.

“Jim went to other bodies to flag up these issues and other concerns because he felt he was not being listened to. Unfortunately after warnings to stop his correspondence, he was disciplined and suspended.

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“Jim continued his campaign to the Learning Trust and other authorities, as he saw these wrong doings should be brought to light and were of public interest.”

Head teacher Jim O’Shea is also unable to comment on the employment matter for legal reasons, but said safety is “paramount” at Rushmore and taken “extremely seriously”.

“I would like to reassure parents and carers that there are no health and safety concerns regarding the school premises,” he told the Gazette.

“When any concerns are raised with me, I will always address these personally, and ensure matters are dealt with quickly and thoroughly.

“In terms of contractors used by the school, these are all approved, cleared and checked by Hackney Council.”

To view the petition see