Judge delays sacked chaplain Bernard’s appeal

22 February 2024

In a further delay to the pursuit of justice, a judge at the Employment Appeal Tribunal has postponed granting permission to appeal to Rev. Dr Bernard Randall, the chaplain sacked and reported to a terrorist watchdog for a sermon on identity politics, until March 2025.

Judge James Tayler ruled that Dr Randall’s permission to appeal should not be heard until after the Court of Appeal hears the case of sacked school assistant, Kristie Higgs, involving similar legal issues.

In January 2023, Kristie Higgs won permission to have her case heard at the Court of Appeal after a five-year legal battle. The hearing is scheduled to begin on 2 October 2024, with a ruling likely to follow before the New Year.

Both Kristie Higgs’ and Dr Randall’s cases are being supported by the Christian Legal Centre. Both cases involve issues of principle about the freedom for Christians to express their beliefs and opposition to harmful transgender ideology, sex education and extreme gender identity beliefs without fear of losing their jobs.

In 2019 Mrs Higgs was sacked, and had her Christian beliefs compared to Neo-Nazism, for opposing transgender ideology and sharing a petition against compulsory sex education on social media.

Mrs Higgs had made the posts after discovering that the Church of England (CofE) school attended by her child (not the school where she was employed) planned, under the radar, to introduce ‘No Outsiders’ books on confusing and harmful gender identity.

Dr Randall, an ordained Church of England (CofE) minister, 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.

He gave the sermon after Trent College invited extreme and now discredited gender identity group, Educate and Celebrate, into the school to ‘smash heteronormativity.’

Judge Tayler pointed out the impact and precedent the Kristie Higgs ruling will set in a higher court for Dr Randall’s appeal. He said that Dr Randall’s lawyers will therefore have an opportunity to review and reshape their legal arguments in light of the Higgs ruling.

The judge concluded that a stay, although not palatable to either party, would be in everyone’s best interests.

‘Not too late for Welby to step in’

Responding to the news, Dr Randall said: “I am hugely frustrated by the further delays to me receiving justice. Just waiting to get my life back can feel like a form of torture in itself. But I also recognise the huge significance of Kristie’s case and my own and what is at stake, and I ‘know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him.’

“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.

“All the secular safeguarding authorities have cleared me entirely, but the CofE’s safeguarding case against me continues for preaching about CofE teaching in a CofE school. The CofE hierarchy has been silent on my case and has refused to help me. It is still not too late for Justin Welby to step in – he has my number.”

Andrea Williams, chief executive of the Christian Legal Centre, which has backed Dr Randall’s case from the beginning, said: “Justice delayed is justice denied. It is now five-years since Bernard gave a sermon. 

“Four years after this all started, despite the pressure and mischaracterisation of his position, Bernard is not for turning until justice is done. 

“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.”


The hearing follows several vindications for Dr Randall in recent months.

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.

These referrals were made despite the fact that the school had already referred Dr Randall to the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) and Prevent, who both concluded that no further action was appropriate.

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.”

Despite four secular organisations having concluded that Dr Randall has done nothing wrong, he remains 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 officiate as an ordained clergyman since.

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.”

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