Scotch College principal sacked before starting despite thorough background check

In an email to parents on Friday, Geelong Grammar principal Rebecca Cody said the school was also assisting Scotch College in a separate new investigation into allegations of Mr Leeds’ conduct while employed at school.

“We are in communication with Scotch College to obtain any information that may be relevant to [Geelong Grammar School],” she said.

In a statement to the media, Ms Cody said Geelong Grammar was not aware of any findings or findings related to the new investigation.

“Our primary concern at this time is the privacy and wellbeing of any of our families directly impacted by these matters and ensuring the proper processes are followed,” she said.

In his statement, Shore defended Mr Leeds, saying he had always denied the claim of misconduct over his tenure at Geelong Grammar.

A spokeswoman said two thorough investigations into the complaint – by Geelong Grammar and the Victorian Institute of Teachers – found it to be unfounded.

“Shore is reviewing the circumstances of Scotch College’s decision to terminate Matt Leeds’ appointment as principal,” she said. “Since joining Shore in January 2019, Mr Leeds has made an outstanding contribution to the school.”

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In a statement to the Scottish community, school chairman Alex Sloan said the whistleblowing allegations included questions about maintaining appropriate professional standards and boundaries. He said the school hired a law firm to investigate the matter and decided to let Mr Leeds go even though he denied the allegations.

Mr Leeds has been contacted for comment, as has his last employer, Shore.

Mr Leeds’ appointment at Scotch College was announced to much fanfare in November, with the school’s chairman describing the new headmaster as someone with a ‘passion for the education of boys’ and ‘outstanding personal qualities’ .

Mr Sloan said Mr Leeds’ three-year tenure at Shore coincided with better academic performance, with the school rated the best non-selective school for boys in NSW.

“Similarly, during his tenure as Director of the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Program at Geelong Grammar School, the school’s median IB ATAR results have improved significantly, demonstrating a commitment to all students to do their best academically,” he said.

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