We need more teachers like Miss Rusty, not less

Acre Farm,


Undoubtedly natural justice has not been served in the case of Ms Rustamova.

I have followed this case in the press, read the tribunal decision, and listened with interest to her interview this week with Jenny Murray on Women’s Hour.

What struck me most was Ms Rustamova’s intelligence and obvious dedication to teaching.

In particular to this group of boys who had previously remained untouched by whatever educational efforts Calder High had to offer.

They were, by dint of Ms Rustamova efforts, brought back into the education system.

Are there so many teachers capable of this sort of transformation that we can afford to throw this one on the scrap heap?

Over two years later she is still signing on.

I have no doubt that the employment tribunal carefully examined procedural aspects of this case (which they mainly tend to concentrate on) and have no doubt that the Board of Governors at Calderdale High were meticulous in adherence to procedure in their decision to dismiss Ms Rustamova.

What is lamentable is the lack of perspective by the governors.

So far as I am aware no gang of paedophiles descended on Calder High, no one was molested or even contacted as a result of the unfortunate brief exposure of this book on the internet.

Indeed parents and pupils involved have demonstrated in support of Ms Rusty - a clear indication of her popularity as a teacher, and the common sense that prevails in the community over this issue.

She had also been encouraged and complimented by her headmaster for her work, and indeed had been given a promotion only the previous day!

No “real” crime was committed but the holy grail of “child confidentiality” had been breached and someone had to be punished. The positive aspects of Ms Rustamova’s work - empathy, imagination, creativity and dedication over many years are not words that seem to have featured high in the lexicon of this decision.

Surely a warning and quiet removal of the offending book from the internet would have been sufficient punishment?

Give a committee a book of rules and they will apply them with bureaucratic zeal.

I’ve no doubt that witchfinders in a previous age had rules which they applied with similar zealotry.

I would like to see an independent review of this decision by the educational establishment. Justice has certainly not been done, she has been punished savagely for a minimal “crime”, and her dismissal must not be allowed to stand.

We need more teachers like Ms Rustamova not less.

Apart from the damage inflicted on her, what message does this send to any other teacher brave enough to take on these sort of children?

Do this at your peril.