Head teacher banned from classroom over adult calls

Crooksbarn School Image copyright Google
Image caption Mr Twidle stood down from Crooksbarn Community Primary School following an audit

A head teacher who called adult phone lines on a school mobile has been banned from the classroom.

Jonathan Twidle, 53, who led two primary schools in north-east England, racked up a £951 phone bill including some calls to the premium-rate numbers, a panel heard.

He also admitted using a school credit card to pay for personal items including groceries and dog food.

A disciplinary panel found him guilty of unacceptable professional conduct.

The Teaching Regulation Agency heard Mr Twidle resigned from one primary school amid concerns over financial irregularities, before joining another which he quit in similar circumstances.

The panel in Coventry heard Mr Twidle worked at Crooksbarn Primary School in Stockton-on-Tees from September 2000.

He resigned in May 2009 when discrepancies emerged during an internal finance audit.

They included use of the school's corporate credit card and call charges totalling £951 on his work Blackberry mobile phone, including some for adult entertainment services made in school time, the panel heard.

Following an investigation, Mr Twidle reimbursed the local authority before taking up a new role at Willow Fields Community Primary School in Sunderland in September 2011.

'Deliberate' and 'dishonest'

Panel members were told he was suspended in May 2016 when concerns were raised by colleagues over financial mismanagement and his favouring of his wife, who was a teacher at the school.

He resigned four months later.

He also admitted at least two personal transactions charged to the school business manager's credit card and signing cheques payable to his wife.

The panel also found Mr Twidle leased a vehicle for personal use at a cost to the school, and used school funds to pay for childcare.

Additionally, it was alleged he recruited his wife without appropriate records to justify giving her a job and gave her a permanent contract when other staff recruited at the same time were on temporary deals.

Mr Twidle denied those claims and the panel found them not proved.

In their conclusion, they said his actions were "deliberate" and "dishonest".

While noting he had "expressed some regret", they added he had shown "very little understanding of his actions or their consequences".

Mr Twidle will not be entitled to apply for restoration of his eligibility to teach.

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