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Head fined for cocaine possession and drink-driving was struggling with school pressures

Primary school leader had been faced with disappointing results, Ofsted inspection and a quarter of his teachers being away on long-term sick leave

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Primary school leader had been faced with disappointing results, Ofsted inspection and a quarter of his teachers being away on long-term sick leave

A headteacher fined for drink-driving and possession of cocaine has said he was struggling with the pressures of running a school.

Iain Gilmour, head of Isambard Brunel Junior School in Portsmouth, Hampshire, said that in addition to the "political and financial changes" faced by schools, he had grappled with disappointing results, Ofsted inspection and a quarter of his teachers being away on long-term sick leave. 

Gilmour pleaded guilty at Portsmouth Magistrates' Court to drink-driving and possession of a Class-A drug on 25 January.

Graham Heath, prosecuting, told the court that the 48-year-old, from Portsmouth, had been stopped by police who had seen him drive through two sets of red lights.      The officers who searched him found a "small amount" of the drug, and a breath test showed he had 67 micrograms of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath – almost double the limit of 35mcg.

"He said that he had consumed three bottles of wine, and had gone out and bought half a gram of cocaine and had paid £200 for that," said Heath. "It is unclear if any had been taken."

Stressed by work

Gilmour, who has been suspended from his job, told the magistrates that he had struggled with a drink problem and the stresses of work.

He said: "The last couple of years have been incredibly difficult for me. As well as constant political and financial changes that all schools face, I have had to face further unique challenges as a headteacher."

Gilmour described how he had lost a "long-serving colleague" to cancer, but had had to "argue about closing the school to allow staff to attend the funeral".

He added that, following disappointing school results and an Ofsted inspection, he had been placed in "pre-capability support", but, despite reaching his targets, this had been extended.

Gilmour said he had a "quarter of teachers away on long-term sick leave", and added: "That is what the life of a headteacher has become: it is what I signed up for."

He continued to describe his personal problems, including being on medication for depression for five years, and drinking in a bid to cope.      Gilmour, who said he was "deeply ashamed of himself" and had sought help, said: "Nevertheless, I spent last term determined to achieve success professionally and  personally, and by Christmas, I naively thought I had won both battles.      "It turns out these were Pyrrhic victories brought about by the Trojan Horse of alcohol dependency entering my life."

He added that his actions had "Destroyed my career and caused perhaps irreparable damage to my marriage."

Gilmour was banned from driving for 18 months, to be reduced by 18 weeks if he completes a rehabilitation course, and fined £875. For the drugs offence, he was fined a further £875 and ordered to pay £85 court costs and an £85 victim surcharge.

Magistrate Lee Mandiwell told him "We feel for you, sir, but we are here to uphold the law."

Speaking after the court case, a spokesperson for Isambard Brunel Junior School said Gilmour would now face disciplinary action.      A statement said: "Last month, a member of staff was charged with offences by police.

"He was suspended immediately. We will now commence disciplinary procedures in line with our policy, and it would not be appropriate to discuss this further at this stage.      "The school is being led in the interim by the deputy headteacher, supported by a senior school leader with primary education expertise, ensuring students continue to receive high-quality education."         

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