Search

Quintin Kynaston Academy head Jo Shuter ‘spent £7,000 of school’s cash on own birthday’

16:29 22 May 2013

Quintin Kynaston headteacher Jo Shuter

Quintin Kynaston headteacher Jo Shuter

Archant

A St John’s Wood headteacher spent nearly £7,000 of her school’s money on her 50th birthday celebrations, a Department for Education report has found.

Thousands of pounds of school money was also spent on taxis, flowers and luxury hotels in less than two years by staff at Quintin Kynaston Community Academy, in Marlborough Hill.

It included more than £10,000 on meetings in top-class hotels, more than £10,000 on travel and £3,000-plus on flowers, although some has been repaid, including all the birthday party money.

The report, published last week, concluded that Jo Shuter – an award-winning “superhead” who took the school through two “outstanding” Ofsted inspections – had failed in her duty to be “economical” with public money.

Ms Shuter is currently prevented from responding due to ongoing negotiations, but hopes to explain her position as soon as possible, pointing out that she has been reinstated after an eight-month suspension, although she is not yet back at work.

Last week, the school’s governing body, which had suspended Ms Shuter over alleged financial irregularities, reinstated her with a “final written warning” following a “long and robust governors’ disciplinary process”.

Ms Shuter, named headteacher of the year in 2007 and honoured with a CBE in 2010, was backed by a 150-signature petition calling for her to be reinstated, with 95 members of staff writing to governors in her support. One staff member told the Wood&Vale that the “soul of the place had been taken away”.

But the report, which details investigations by two government bodies into the school’s financial practices from January 1, 2011, to August 31, 2012, found:

■ £11,429.02 was spent on travel, at least £8,426.15 of which was not on school business, such as taxi trips to The Ivy and The Savoy for Ms Shuter, although some of this has been repaid;

■ Ms Shuter undertook consultancy and speaking arrangements – being paid fees such as £15,000 by Coventry County Council – during school time;

■ Ms Shuter held her 50th birthday party at the academy at a cost of £6,957.49 for “staff time, catering, alcohol, food, party lights and landscaping”. The money was repaid a year later.

■ Ms Shuter regularly claimed back hundreds of pounds for her mobile phone contract, with bills ranging from £213.04 to £776.88, but deductions for personal use were “minimal” – despite the contract including phones for her son and daughter.

■ The school held overnight meetings in luxury hotels including The Grove hotel, Chandler’s Cross, Hertfordshire, costing £8,269.26 and in May 2012 at Marylebone’s Landmark Hotel costing £4,410.86.

■ The school spent £3,474 on thank-you and birthday flowers since becoming an academy in November 2011.

The report concluded that as the academy’s accounting officer, Ms Shuter was expected to “ensure proper and economical use of all resources” and to “avoid waste and extravagance”, but that “clearly these responsibilities have not been discharged”.

It added: “Funding provided to benefit the needs of the academy pupils has, in fact, been diverted for inappropriate purposes.”

The school has now been issued a financial notice to improve – including recovering inappropriate payments.

A DfE spokesman said: “The misuse of public money meant for schools is completely unacceptable. We will not lift the notice to improve until the school has made sufficient progress to address the identified weaknesses.”

The Met Police’s investigations into allegations of fraud/false accounting are ongoing. Nobody has been arrested. The school’s chair of governors, Patrick Lees, declined to comment.

0 comments

Latest Hampstead & Highgate News Stories

Yesterday, 18:35

A Crouch End woman and three others have been sentenced for their roles in attempting to defraud a Camden housing association of nearly £430,000.

Yesterday, 15:29

A Gospel Oak care home made no notes of a patient’s penicillin allergy on the medical charts, a care watchdog report found

Yesterday, 11:37

A 30-year-old male cyclist is in a serious condition in hospital after reportedly careering into the rear window of a parked car in Regent’s Park.

Yesterday, 11:28

Management consultant begged to be spared prison after kicking the driver outside an exclusive club

Thu, 13:01

The power of the community in working for change has been demonstrated with steps taken to deal with two major traffic issues

Thu, 11:24

Revellers of all ages descended on Waterlow Park on Saturday to celebrate its glorious 125-year history

Thu, 08:00

A Hampstead family claim their beloved Pomeranian dog Chewy died after being bitten by a neighbour’s Alsatian dog.

Thu, 07:00

A controversial late-night restaurant in Hampstead has agreed to reduce its opening hours following armed carjackings during which shots were fired.

PROMOTED CONTENT

Interested in purchasing a flat and want to know the rules, rights and regulations as a leaseholder? Or maybe you are already a leaseholder and want to find out more about extending your lease?

Scores of people visited the opening of Composite Door Master’s first public showroom in Hayes at the weekend, where they were treated to a spectacular show by award winning magician, Marc Oberon.

You’ve got cash, you’ve got style and you’ve got a bursting social calendar, but no time. These Crouch End studio suites to rent could be your dream come true.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Most read Hampstead & Highgate news

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Property Newsletter Sign-up

Get the latest North London property news and features straight to your inbox with our regular newsletter

I am also happy to receive other emails...
Fields marked with a * are mandatory
Email Marketing by e-shot

Competitions

If you’re obsessed with Apple or just love a good gadget, this is a prize that will blow you away! An incredible £3,333 to spend on Apple goodies! How would you like to be the proud new owner of the Apple Watch?

As we grow older it becomes more and more important to have means to travel about safely and quickly. Our friendship groups and families grow and the need to have a car that is not only safe but also fast and big enough for all our needs is ever more important. There are many cars on the market for such needs but none deals with them as efficiently or as neatly as a VW Golf Estate. These cars are build strong, long lasting and spacious for a reason. They cater to the needs of many and are some of the most popular cars currently on the market.

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now