Fired TES division head goes on the record - Taipei Times
Tue, May 08, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Fired TES division head goes on the record

‘COLLATERAL DAMAGE’:The former head of the school’s primary division said he was unceremoniously let go over disagreements about transparency and school governance

By Noah Buchan  /  Staff reporter

Peter Sloan could not believe what he was reading. He knew that there had been tension brewing for months over the future direction of Taipei European School (TES), but he could not have imagined that it would result in him being fired in February from his position as head of the British primary school section.

Sloan’s dismissal, along with British secondary-school head Stuart Glascott, sent shockwaves through the TES community, which also has French and German sections.

At two town hall meetings the following day attended by hundreds of parents, TES chief executive officer David Gatley, who had signed off on the firings, said the section chairs were dismissed for “gross misconduct,” but did not clarify if the two educators had committed anything illegal, raising concerns over their children’s safety.

“[It] was out of the blue with no warning... We found out when the parents found out that our contracts had been terminated. There was no personal contact,” Sloan told the Taipei Times yesterday in an interview over Skype from Spain, where he now lives with his wife.

“It was pretty devastating. I thought the treatment was callous,” he said.

Sloan and Glascott had their Alien Resident Visas revoked and were banished from the TES campus, which meant they could not act as their own defense at the town hall meetings.

“Mr Gatley talked about gross misconduct [at the meetings], but never followed that up with any evidence or any statement about what that meant,” Sloan said.

“There were really no allegations made... There were inferences, but no specifics,” he added.

The firings, and the backlash it generated among many of the parents, exposed differences over the school’s future direction and pitted parents against Gatley, with Sloan and Glascott caught in the middle.

“Stuart and I were collateral damage,” Sloan said.

As outlined in a Feb. 22 Taipei Times report, the conflict began in July last year, when the parent-run board of governors lost significant decisionmaking power after it was merged with the school’s board of directors.

Sloan said there were two consequences to these changes: Parents were removed from being at the center of governance to being spectators, and there was a lack of transparency.

“I raised on numerous occasions [these issues] with David Gatley and received no satisfactory answer,” he said.

The Taipei Times sent an e-mail to Gatley’s office yesterday afternoon requesting comment on the specific reasons the two educators were fired from TES. This followed a series of e-mails sent to the same office in February requesting clarity over the firings and parent concerns over their children’s safety.

Gatley has yet to respond to questions over the dismissals and the future governance of the school.

However, in the February letter informing parents of the dismissals, Gatley said that “manipulation” and “many unverified rumors circulating around the school,” and “intentional miscommunications” led to the firings.

Sloan made Gatley aware in December that he would not renew his contract in July because of differences over governance and transparency. Ten days after that, Sloan said he met with Gatley.

During that “seven-minute” meeting, the school head made “no suggestion ... to me that anything other than procedural issues have been at fault here. So why was the contract eliminated with only a few months to go?” Sloan said.

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