Trust hits back after report said head turned to drink and drugs to deal with stresses running ‘understaffed’ Portsmouth school

Isambard Brunel Junior School, Wymering Road, Portsmouth Ofsted.
Isambard Brunel Junior School, Wymering Road, Portsmouth Ofsted.
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OFFICIALS from an academy trust have said their staff are given the support they need after a headteacher turned to drink and drugs to cope with the stress he faced at work.

Iain Gilmour lost his job as the headteacher of Isambard Brunel Junior School last year after he was convicted of drink-driving and possessing cocaine.

Portsmouth headteacher Iain Gilmour, 48, of George Street, admitted drink-driving and having cocaine, a Class A drug''8/2/18

Portsmouth headteacher Iain Gilmour, 48, of George Street, admitted drink-driving and having cocaine, a Class A drug''8/2/18

The teacher has since been banned by a professional conduct panel, who found the 48-year-old’s actions were ‘outside that which could reasonably be tolerated’.

He has to wait at least two years before he can appeal the body’s decision.

READ MORE: Head caught drink-driving and in possession of cocaine is banned from teaching 

But in the panel’s findings the body noted Mr Gilmour’s actions were ‘out of character’ and had been exacerbated by the pressures he faced running the school – which included ‘the death of a long-serving colleague’ and a ‘staff shortage’.

In its report, the panel also said Mr Gilmour had been given a ‘lack of support’ by the Thinking Schools Academy Trust which runs the school.

Now the trust has hit back, saying it has addressed staff shortages and that it provides appropriate support to all staff at Isambard Brunel.

A spokeswoman said: ‘There were long-term replacements in place for three staff absences at the time, and additional leadership support was being provided.

‘The school remains fully staffed and has a new headteacher who is making significant improvements.

‘We pride ourselves on being an inclusive trust that supports every member of our community – staff, parents and of course children and young people.

‘We have fostered a strong sense of togetherness, promote our pastoral support, and are fully aware of the duty of care we have to all those in our family of schools.’

The academy added it had been shortlist for a number of awards within the education industry for its pay model, which meant staff are better paid than the national average.

Commenting on Mr Gilmour’s case, a spokeswoman added: ‘We understand the decision of the panel and wish Iain well for the future.’

As previously reported, Portsmouth Magistrates’ Court heard the senior teacher had drunk three bottles of wine and bought half a gram of cocaine for £200.

After he admitted both charges, magistrates banned him from driving for 18 months and ordered him to pay costs and fines totalling £1,920.

In a frank admission to the court, Mr Gilmour said he had been under ‘constant’ pressure to improve standards at Isambard Brunel Junior School after it was given a ‘requires improvement’ rating by Ofsted.

 Appearing in court in February, he described how difficulties led to his actions that ‘destroyed’ his career.

But he said he had heeded the ‘wake-up call’ and was ‘determined to save himself’ from drinking again.