Special needs and ICT expert Sally Mckeown has won her claim of unfair dismissal against Becta at an Employment Tribunal. Sally McKeown worked for Becta, the government ICT agency, for 17 years, and was its recognised expert on dyslexia and adults with disabilities.
Despite public criticism last year about a staff re-structuring that outside observers considered a downgrading of Becta's public profile as a centre of expertise for ICT and special needs, the organisation had insisted that the team members had been offered suitable alternative employment.
The tribunal ruled that Sally had in fact been unfairly dismissed. The tribunal concluded that Becta had not taken Sally’s specialist skills into account when considering alternative employment.
In addition to noting that Becta failed to address Sally’s concerns, the tribunal concluded that it had carried out no real planning for the “virtual” inclusion team, and that there had been a “complete lack of detail” on how the virtual team would function following the restructure. A date has been fixed to determine the compensation to be paid by Becta.
Sally McKeown is currently running training for learning support assistants, and writes a regular column on ICT for gifted and talented pupils. Now a freelance consultant, writer and trainer, she can be contacted at: