teacherA teaching assistant who was dismissed from a primary school after refusing to cut ties with her convicted sex offender son has been awarded £28,300 in compensation by a tribunal.

Tracy Hodgkinson was sacked from her position at Halifax Primary School in Ipswich in January 2012, claiming she was forced out because the management was concerned over the level of contact she had maintained with her son.

Mrs Hodgkinson’s son was jailed for two-and-a-half years in May 2010 for an offence of grooming and sexual activity with a girl aged under 14. He was 18 at the time.

She informed the school about the case, but said she wanted to maintain contact with him as she had already lost her daughter to cancer in December 2004.

However, she was dismissed in January 2012 after her bosses claimed it no longer had “trust and confidence” in her.

An employment tribunal in Bury St Edmunds has now ruled that Mrs Hodgkinson was unfairly dismissed and awarded her £28,300 for loss of income and damages.

Following the ruling, she said:

“The whole process has really taken its toll, my health has suffered.

“I did nothing wrong, the judge made that clear. The school were prejudiced against me and dismissed me unfairly.”

She added:

“I couldn’t abandon my son, he’s the only child I have left. Me having contact with my son, who has paid for what he did, posed no risk to the children. They tried to make me pay for his crimes.”

In a statement, Head Teacher of Halifax Primary School, Anna Hennell James, said:

“We are disappointed the Tribunal did not see fit to uphold our decision to dismiss Mrs Hodgkinson.

“However we are pleased that the judge agreed with our view that it would be inappropriate to reinstate her.

“Our main priority has always been, and will continue to be, the safety of children in our care.”