A female teacher has won a sex discrimination claim against an independent school after she missed out on a maths teaching role to a male teacher who had a “strong handshake”, The Times reports.

Vanaja Greenwood won the claim against Pinewood School in Wiltshire, after she was told the other candidate, Neil Crossley, was a more “complete schoolmaster”, even though he had never taught maths.

She said the rejection left her feeling “belittled” and as though she was “not worthy” because she was a woman.

Mrs Greenwood, who has a degree in maths, was already working at the school teaching younger years, but last year applied for a role as a full-time maths teacher. She was told the previous maths teacher had also been head of boarding and a coach for rugby, cricket and hockey. 

Mrs Greenwood had explained to the head teacher that she would not be able to help out looking after children who were boarding in the evenings as she had her own childcare commitments.

After Mr Crossley’s interview the then headteacher Philip Hoyland noticed he had a “firm and strong” handshake. He told the tribunal that “inspired confidence”. He described him as “an all-round schoolmaster with energy and commitment”.

Mrs Greenwood was described, in contrast, as “gentle”.

A hearing to decide compensation will be held shortly.