Head teacher Jo Shuter banned for life over personal expenses

Jo Shuter
Image caption Joanna Shuter admitted claiming for her 50th birthday party from Quintin Kynaston Community Academy

A former academy head teacher who charged the school for her birthday party, furniture and taxi rides has been banned for life from teaching.

Joanna Shuter had admitted unacceptable professional conduct while working at Quintin Kynaston School, St John's Wood, north-west London.

Publishing its judgement, a professional conduct handed Ms Shuter a prohibition order banning her from teaching indefinitely.

She resigned last May after 11 years.

The National College for Teaching and Leadership brought the misconduct hearing after a government report found Ms Shuter, credited with turning the school around, had presided over the misuse of public funds.

Ms Shuter admitted:

  • Claiming her 50th birthday party expenditure of £6,292.90 from the academy in 2011
  • Claiming £8,269 for an overnight stay at the Grove Hotel in Chandler's Cross for her leadership team
  • Charging the school for furniture worth £1,500 delivered to her home
  • Making extensive expenses claims, including mobile phone contracts for herself and her children
  • Instructing her PA to book flights and arrange the rental of her holiday home on school time, and organise her consultancy engagements
  • Taking on extra paid work for speaking at conferences and consultancy during term time
  • Claiming for travel expenses she had already been reimbursed for by someone else
  • Claiming £5,855.67 for taxi journeys not made on school business

'Influential figure'

In its judgement, approved by a senior Department for Education official on behalf on the education secretary, the panel recommended Ms Shuter should not be allowed to apply for the order to be lifted at a later date.

Image caption Ms Shuter resigned from Quintin Kynaston School in May 2013 after 11 years at the school

As Ms Shuter, who was named Head Teacher of the Year in 2007 and appointed a CBE, had made "extensive expenses claims" for "personal gain", her conduct should be treated with the "utmost seriousness", the panel ruled.

It said that given her "high national profile as an influential figure in the education world", to do otherwise risked undermining public confidence in the profession.

Although she had admitted her wrongdoing, she had also showed "a lack of insight into the severity and impact of her behaviours".

Andrew Christie, executive director of children's services at Westminster City Council, which ran the school until 2008, had referred the case to the professional body.

"We expect very high standards from teachers and head teachers in Westminster," he said.

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