Coach blasts Tribe over ‘ridiculous’ reasons for sacking

By Leon Symons, May 14, 2009

A table tennis coach sacked by Tribe, the United Synagogue’s youth branch, has complained to education watchdog Ofsted.

Father-of-two Steve Cohen, 52, worked with Tribe for five years until the end of last month, when he was called to a meeting and dismissed after a complaint had been made against him. Subsequently, he was sent a letter in which two further complaints were made.

Mr Cohen, who coached children at an after-school club at Wolfson Hillel Primary School in Southgate, north London, said this week: “All the complaints were ridiculous, but I was not told about any of them until I was called to the dismissal meeting.”

The US said: “The United Synagogue refutes all allegations made by Mr Cohen in relation to the termination of his consultancy agreement as a table tennis coach. Mr Cohen is not and never has been an employee of the US.”

Mr Cohen said the first complaint was that a child was found wandering outside the school. “But the child was with the football club and nothing to do with me. The second complaint was that a child had been jumping on a table in the dining hall. I was putting away table-tennis tables and there were parents and another Tribe employee in the hall. Finally, I was accused of telling the children to shut up, calling them names like ‘idiot’ and encouraging homophobic conversations. Anyone I have taught knows I use a whistle to get quiet and I have never encouraged such talk.”

He was not seeking compensation or reinstatement — “just the withdrawal of these complaints, which are bogus”.

Last updated: 11:12am, May 14 2009