Chaplain sacked and reported to terrorist watchdog for sermon to begin appeal

19 February 2024

On February 20 2024, an ordained Church of England (CofE) minister, sacked and reported to a terrorist watchdog for a sermon on identity politics, will begin his appeal at the Employment Appeal Tribunal.

Supported by the Christian Legal Centre, Rev. Dr Bernard Randall, 51, took legal action against Trent College in Derbyshire following his dismissal for a sermon he gave in 2019 on the CofE’s own teaching on marriage, in a CofE chapel, in a school with a CofE ethos.

Dr Randall was also blacklisted by the CofE’s Derby Diocese safeguarding team as a ‘risk to children’ for delivering the sermon. A safeguarding report on his conduct concluded that CofE and Biblical teaching on marriage and sexuality was a ‘risk factor’, and he has not been able to deliver a sermon since.

At the Employment Appeal Tribunal on February 20, Dr Randall will challenge an astonishing Employment Tribunal ruling which upheld his sacking.

His lawyers will say that the original tribunal ruling failed to recognise Dr Randall’s right to freedom of religion and expression when delivering the sermon on contested issues on matters of significant public interest.

They will also say that the school and Tribunal denied pupils’ free speech right to hear Christian teaching and make up their own minds.

They are also expected to challenge the tribunal’s ‘perverse’ finding that the school’s safeguarding team was justified in reporting Dr Randall to the government’s terrorist watchdog, Prevent, for the sermon.


The permission to appeal hearing comes following several vindications for Dr Randall in recent weeks.

Following the Employment Tribunal’s ruling in February 2023, the Headteacher of Trent College, Bill Penty, maliciously reported Dr Randall to the Teaching Regulation Authority (TRA) and the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) with the aim of preventing him from teaching and working with children indefinitely.

The DBS found no evidence of harm or potential harm and concluded that “it would not be appropriate” to take action against Dr Randall, and the TRA said there “was no case to answer.”

Last month it was also revealed by the Charity Commission that the extreme LGBT charity, Educate and Celebrate (E&C), whose agenda of ‘smashing heteronormativity’ at Trent College led to Dr Randall giving the sermon, were folding.

Gender Unicorn teaching, E&C, has claimed that it decided to close down of its own accord. However, following a series of scandals, including revelations that it lied to hundreds of schools that it was endorsed by Ofsted, questions remain about whether it jumped before being pushed.

Funded by the Department for Education (DfE), E&C has been allowed to teach extreme Queer Theory and to push for the eradication of terms such as ‘boy’ and ‘girl’ in schools. They also believe that if a child declares themselves as transgender at school, parents should not be informed.

Educate and Celebrate

As part of his appeal, Dr Randall will now challenge Employment Judge Victoria Butler’s ruling against him which, for example, wrongly asserted several times that: “E&C is an Ofsted and DfE recognised best practice programme.”

Furthermore, Judge Butler said in her judgment, that: “[Dr Randall] takes an extreme view of E&C which bears no resemblance to the reality of its purpose and implementation, which was aimed simply at creating an inclusive environment for all. We saw and heard no evidence that came anywhere close to supporting [Dr Randall’s] view that E&C would indoctrinate pupils in such a way.”

Dismissing any concerns about the phrase ‘smashing heteronormativity’ being brought into schools, Judge Butler described it as “an enthusiastic attempt by Ms Barnes to warm-up the teachers at the outset of the day.”

Judge Butler described Dr Randall’s sermon as: “An act of retaliation against his misconceived view of E&C.”

Sowing confusion

Ahead of the hearing which will challenge these assertions, Dr Randall said: “I was and am aghast at how the courts have painted me and my Christian beliefs as the problem when it has now so clearly been exposed that E&C has been the danger to children.

“I believe I have experienced a series of terrible injustices, and I am determined for them to be put right. This is another stage on that road.

“My case concerns everybody. The gender identity and Queer Theory agenda sowing deep seeds of confusion in young children is now embedded in our schools. That agenda is anti-Christian and unashamedly aims to stamp out any Christian influence in our schools, and indeed any opposition, dissenting voice or even debate on their dangerous ideology.

“I would not be where I am now if E&C had not been invited into Trent College, it is as simple as that. As an ordained CofE minister working as a chaplain in a school with a CofE ethos, it was my duty to encourage debate and help children who were confused by the LGBT+ teaching to know that there are alternative views and beliefs on these contentious issues.”

Andrea Williams, chief executive of the Christian Legal Centre, which has backed Dr Randall’s case from the beginning, said: “Trent College and the Church, which should have backed Bernard in this situation, have punished him instead. 

They have succumbed to the fear of upsetting the LGBTQI+ lobby and have been prepared to hang a man out to dry. They clearly chose the wrong man. Bernard is a man of deep Christian faith, tolerance and moral courage.

“Five years after this all started, despite the pressure and mischaracterisation of his position, Bernard is not for turning until justice is done. In the meantime, Educate & Celebrate has been exposed through a number of scandals for what it is – a radical, sexually immoral and dangerous organisation which should be nowhere near our children in schools.

“If this ruling is not overturned and Bernard does not receive justice, then any parent, child, teacher or chaplain who opposes the agenda of ‘smashing heteronormativity’ in our schools, is not safe from losing their jobs, or worse. We have to win it and will not give up until we have.”

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