THE former deputy headteacher of a school at the centre of financial mismanagement claims has defended his actions, saying his accusers enjoyed the hospitality he has been criticised for organising.
Dr Richard Evans says one of the reasons he was dismissed was for organising 'lavish parties' which were of 'no benefit' to Copland Community College - claims which he says are undermined by the attendance of some of his critics.
He was condemned for spending money on the annual dinners which took place in parliament and were attended by star guests such as Dame Kelly Holmes.
Last week, Dr Evans finally broke his silence since being sacked and attacked John Christie, Brent Council's head of education, and Hank Roberts, the teacher who blew the whistle on the school's alleged bonus culture for attending such events.
He told the Observer: "I can now tell you there is, as always, more than one side to the tale.
"This 'revelation' about bonuses being paid to staff and money wasted on such events as the dinners were first made last summer, some seven years after the whistleblower himself, Hank Roberts, attended an annual dinner.
"He enjoyed it hugely, wearing his red bow tie."
Dr Evans claims the events raised £400,000 for the scandal-hit school in Cecil Avenue, Wembley. He said: "These funds, and therefore the annual dinners, financially benefited Copland School - to say nothing of the fact that such occasions were important to show what work was done at the school."
Dr Evans was fired after the council investigated allegations that senior staff shared unlawful bonus payments totalling £1.6million.
Dr Evans added: "We had many guests, mostly from Brent, the local authority, councillors, headteachers from other schools and some politicians.
"If holding these dinners was so wrong - despite the fact they raised around £400,00 for the school - why did John Christie attend and thank me, instead of giving me some warning that what I was doing was wrong and that I was heading for serious trouble?"
But Hank Roberts, whistleblower and union activist, hit back at Dr Evans and said: "I went to one dinner right at the start. All members of staff were invited. This is a smokescreen to detract from the main issue of staff taking home unlawful bonuses.
"If he says £400,000 was raised where did it go? It didn't go to the school and the pupils' education was suffering."
A council spokesman, who said Mr Christie had only attended one dinner at the House of Lords in 2008, added: "Mr Christie understood that the dinner was a celebratory event funded by sponsors with no cost to the school. He had no reason at the time to warn Dr Evans that the dinner was inappropriate.
"Brent Council fully supports the decision of the Interim Executive Board to dismiss Dr Richard Evans from his post as deputy headteacher at Copland Community College."