Parents speak out in support of suspended Quintin Kynaston head Jo Shuter

Parents spoke out in support of a head teacher suspended for “serious allegations” relating to the school’s finances last Wednesday (Sept 12th).

Jo Shuter, head of Quintin Kynaston Academy, Marlborough Hill, St John’s Wood, was suspended by governors after police were informed of financial irregularities.

Speaking outside the school on Friday, parents paid tribute to Ms Shuter, and said they hope she returns to the school soon.

Zia Mirza, who has a son in Year Seven, said: “What I’ve read about her is the reason I sent my son here. She’s improved a lot of the children’s lives.”

She is worried about the effect allegations could have on pupils, adding: “She is the head mistress who is supposed to be a role model. If it turns out she is a robber what does that say to the kids?”

Amina Sebab, whose daughter Layla is in Year Seven, added: “I’ve had three girls in the school, and she’s great at getting to know the pupils. I hope she will return soon.”

Other parents, who asked not to be named, spoke of the brilliant job she had done for the school and said they would believe she was innocent until proved otherwise.

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Ms Shuter told the Wood&Vale she was unable to comment while the investigation was ongoing, but was grateful for the support of the parents.

Deputy head teacher Chris Sale has been appointed acting head in Ms Shuter’s absence.

Chairman of the governors Patrick Lees said the allegations had been known for some time, and a forensic examination of the school’s records had been carried out by auditors.

He said: “On receipt of serious allegations relating to the management of the school, governors took immediate action to initiate an investigation and are now referring the matter to the police.

“In order to facilitate this investigation and ensure that pupils’ education is not compromised, we have also taken the decision to suspend the head teacher.”

A police spokeswoman said enquiries into the matter were still ongoing.

Labour MP for Westminster North, Karen Buck, praised the record of Ms Shuter, who was named Head Teacher of the Year at the 2007 Teaching Awards.

She said: “It is for Jo Shuter to come forward and present her response to that.

“What is not in doubt is her record as an outstanding head teacher who has helped transform the fortunes of the school.”

A department of education spokeswoman said: “Unfortunately, no system of financial audit can guarantee it will prevent all wrongdoing.

“However, the financial accountability systems in place for academies are more rigorous than those for maintained schools and they enable swift resolution of any issues of financial impropriety.”

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