11:00am Wednesday 5th March 2014
A FORMER Northwich primary school head teacher has been banned from teaching for at least two years.
Jacqui Symes, 48, who was head at Victoria Road Primary School, was found guilty of ‘unacceptable professional conduct’ following a disciplinary panel decision on behalf of the Secretary of State for Education.
The panel, sitting three weeks ago, said Symes abused her position and ‘falsely misrepresented herself to manipulate employment opportunities for her daughter’, ‘failed to secure governor approval for payments’ and ‘misled others to maximise her financial gain’.
Alan Meyrick, deputy director of the National College for teaching and Leadership, said: “In her role as headteacher, Ms Symes should have provided a good example to other staff members.
“She failed to respect the relationship of trust between a head teacher and governing body.”
Symes was dismissed from her role at Victoria Road on February 11, 2012 and has been barred from teaching at any school, sixth form college, relevant youth accommodation or children’s home in England.
The panel found that Symes falsely misrepresented herself as deputy head in an email to manipulate her daughter’s college commitments and ensure continued paid employment for her at Victoria Road Primary.
In doing so, it found that she breached the relationship of trust and confidence with her deputy, which was necessary to the effective running of the school.
Mr Meyrick added: “She abused her position and breached the relationship of trust that should exist with her deputy head teacher.
“In this respect, I am satisfied that Ms Symes’ conduct fell significantly short of the standards expected of the profession and that her conduct is relevant to her fitness to be a teacher.
“In my view Ms Symes’ actions were deliberate. There was no evidence to suggest that she was acting under duress, and, in fact, the panel found her to have acted wilfully and deliberately. She did, however, have a previous good history and I have taken that into consideration.”
Further, Symes failed to secure the approval of her governing body for £300 per day for additional days at other schools when Victoria Road was closed.
She also deliberately failed to secure approval for the payment of £150 per week for additional responsibilities she undertook at those schools.
Ms Symes was present during the first two days of the hearing in November but did not attend the resumed hearing on February 3, however, her representative was present.
She may apply for the Prohibition Order to be set aside, but not until February 2016, and if she does, she will have to persuade a panel that she is fit to return to the classroom.
She has a right to appeal to the High Court.
When contacted by the Guardian Victoria Road Primary declined to comment.
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