Hello, Judith and welcome back to Just Answer!
My name is XXXXX XXXXX it will be my pleasure to assist you today.
From your description of the situations that occurred, it sounds like you handled yourself very professionally and your words to him regarding the specific situations/circumstances were not inappropriate or unwarranted.
If he was used to having free reign or more flexibility as to his actions, without the prior approval of the former Principal or any superior in the past, he needed to be told that he must 'clear' any actions to be taken with you, first.
His reaction re: taking off sick, seems childish and provoked by anger/frustration with your criticism of his inappropriate actions and the fact that you had another meeting with a staff member and could not speak with him at that particular time (to his convenience). Yes, his behaviour definitely warrants disciplinary action, especially because he left the grounds before the school was closed/secured, which is his responsibility, and left the children and staff at risk, regarding security, plus, you needed to do his job to secure the school grounds.
If the majority of the teaching staff find him generally quite unhelpful and downright obstructive, it would be appropriate for a meeting to be called with him, his immediate superior (you) and your superior, to identify the problems, make sure he is aware of all the rules and regulations, and he is instructed to get your permission in writing (like a 'work order') before taking any actions not already approved, in any future situations.This would be appropriate if it is decided that he should be retained or made redundant and another caretaker hired.
I hope all works out well for you in this difficult situation!
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