A teacher made redundant from The Purcell School in Bushey has taken the school to an employment tribunal over claims he was discriminated against for his sexual orientation.

Ian McMillan appeared at a pre application hearing on Tuesday, November 19, in an ongoing case of “unfair dismissal and discrimination”.

Mr McMillan and his partner, Quentin Poole, were music teachers who lived on site at the school before being made redundant.

Representing the school, David Parry, of Darby’s Solicitors, Oxford, attempted to strike out Mr McMillan’s claims for sexual discrimination on the grounds of his sexuality as a gay man, claiming they were irrelevant and had no prospect of success at a full tribunal.

However, Tom Coghlin, Mr McMillan’s barrister, of Cloister’s London, argued a four-year catalogue of events suffered by Mr McMillan, preceding dismissal – under the former headteacher Peter Crook, and post dismissal, under current head David Thomas, were highly pertinent, and demonstrated a case to be heard in full.

Mr Coghlin further highlighted examples of “homophobic bullying” by various staff at the school, including Mr McMillan being “publically humiliated” at a school concert by a fellow member of staff.

On another occasion, there was an allegation Mr McMillan had raised his voice to a pupil, which prompted disciplinary action. However, Mr McMillan was not made aware the pupil’s mother had written to the school to say she had no concern about the incident, yet disciplinary action continued.

Mr Coghlin said of Mr McMillan’s treatment: “The fact the claimant is an openly gay man and a threat to boys is an insidious stereotypical assumption.”

Judge Broughton said on Tuesday: “This case meets the relatively low bar in discrimination cases.” A 13-day tribunal will take place next May, where Mr Poole will be one of 13 called to give evidence.