1491788456373 - Veteran Invercargill college teacher resigns after employment hearing

Veteran Invercargill college teacher resigns after employment hearing

An employment dispute between Invercargill high school Verdon College and a senior teacher has been resolved by mediation and the teacher has resigned.

Penelope Dunckley, a Verdon College head of department who had been at the school for 27 years, took her employer, the Verdon College Board of Trustees, to the Employment Relations Authority last month.

ERA chief James Crichton, speaking after the first day of the hearing on March 27, said Dunckley had made several claims against the college which the college refuted.

“She has raised a number of personal grievances and they are all disadvantage grievances … they are all grievances that allege the school has taken unjustified actions against her, to her disadvantage.

READ MORE: Veteran teacher locked in employment dispute with Invercargill’s Verdon College

“She says her relationship with the senior management of the school is poor and she says there have been various issues that have arisen over time, where she says she has been treated differently from other staff, ” Crichton said.

The school had a different view, he said.

“The school says she has been treated fairly and exactly the same way as everyone else and that she’s simply in charge of an area at the school that’s in need of improvement.”

An MBIE spokeswoman, in a statement last week, said the hearing had adjourned “part heard” on the third day to enable the two parties to undertake mediation. 

The mediation resolved “all issues” between the parties and the proceedings were withdrawn.

“The full and complete settlement reached between the parties is confidential to them,” the MBIE spokeswoman said.

Verdon College Board of Trustees chairman Tim Ward would only say that matters had been concluded to the satisfaction of all.

“Penney [Dunckley] has resigned and we wish her well for the future and we thank Penney for her long service at Verdon College.” 

Her resignation was effective on March 30.

Dunckley could not be contacted for comment on Monday and Verdon College principal Jarlath Kelly declined to comment.

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