Former "super-head" Jo Shuter has been given permission to appeal against a lifetime teaching ban, in a reversal of a previous decision.
The former headteacher of Quintin Kynaston Academy in London was given a lifetime ban with no provision for review after she was found guilty of thousands of pounds of expenses abuses.
But today the Department for Education announced that it had reversed its position and Ms Shuter could try to overturn the ban once two years had elapsed after the original decision.
The DfE’s Paul Heathcote, acting on behalf of education secretary Nicky Morgan, said that while he had originally agreed with the professional conduct panel’s recommendation not to allow a right of review, he had now changed his mind.
“I have now reconsidered this matter in light of the points raised by Ms Shuter on appeal and consider that the decision not to set a period, after which Ms Shuter would be entitled to apply for a review of the prohibition order, was not a proportionate sanction given the factual allegations proved upon admission before the panel,” he said.
The ruling means that Ms Shuter will be able to apply to return to teaching from 13 May 2016, two years after the ban was imposed.
But Mr Heathcote said any decision on whether the ban should be lifted would be down to a future panel. “This is not an automatic right to have the prohibition order removed,” he explained.
Ms Shuter, named headteacher of the year at the 2007 Teaching Awards and appointed CBE for services to education, admitted misconduct over a series of allegations relating to her expenses at Quintin Kynaston.
These included spending approximately £7,000 on a 50thbirthday party, claiming £8,269 for a hotel stay for the senior leadership team, ordering about £1,500 worth of furniture to be delivered to her home address and charging mobile phone contracts for herself, her son and her daughter to the school.
Ms Shuter also admitted instructing her PA to undertake non-school work in school hours, including booking flights for her family and arranging rental of her holiday home in Turkey.
The original panel ruling said the fact that the abuses took place over a prolonged period and continued even after the school bursar had raised concerns, and that Ms Shuter showed a lack of insight into her behaviour, justified the lifetime ban.
Ms Shuter resigned from Quintin Kynaston after the allegations came to light and at the time of the panel hearing was headteacher at King Solomon High School in Ilford, Essex.