Quintin Kynaston Academy head Jo Shuter quits ‘untenable’ post after damning finance scandal

Jo Shuter has quit her role as head at Quintin Kynaston Community Academy

Jo Shuter has quit her role as head at Quintin Kynaston Community Academy - Credit: Archant

A St John’s Wood headteacher embroiled in scandal for abusing her school’s finances quit her post on the day she was due to return from an eight-month suspension.

Jo Shuter, a popular, award-winning “superhead” who took Quintin Kynaston Community Academy through two “outstanding” Ofsted inspections, felt her position at the in Marlborough Hill school was now “untenable”.

Her departure follows the publication of a damning government report that revealed a litany of financial and other misconduct by her, including spending nearly £7,000 of the school’s money celebrating her 50th birthday. The sum was later repaid.

Chair of governors Patrick Lees said in a statement on Monday: “Whilst we as the governing body have reinstated Jo, following the publication of the Education Funding Agency (EFA) report last week Jo felt her position at QK had become untenable. She has today proffered her resignation, which we have accepted.”

Ms Shuter, named headteacher of the year in 2007 and honoured with a CBE in 2010, was found to have “diverted” school funds “for inappropriate purposes” in the 18 months to August 31 last year.

Thousands of pounds of school money was spent on taxis, flowers and luxury hotels under her watch, including more than £10,000 spent on meetings in top-class hotels, more than £10,000 on travel and £3,000-plus on flowers, although some of this has been repaid.

Ms Shuter said in a statement: “It is with sadness and regret that I have taken the difficult decision to tender my resignation as headteacher of QK Academy following the governors’ decision to reinstate me after lengthy investigation.

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“My 11 years of headship have been a source of pride and happiness. I feel privileged to have worked with the most dedicated and committed teachers, support staff, governors and members of the wider QK community.

“I would also like to thank the wonderfully supportive parents and the most inspiring and resilient young people. I wish you success and peace in whatever choices you make for your futures – you will stay in my memories forever.”

Mr Lees said the school would stengthen its “internal financial controls” to ensure taxpayers’ money was not misused in future, adding that Quintin Kynaston had been “successfully led” by the acting headteacher Chris Sale since Ms Shuter’s suspension last September.

The board will now go about finding a permanent replacement for Ms Shuter, who it had issued a final written warning last month based on the findings of the investigation.