Banned from being a head

17th September 2004 at 01:00
Paul Regan splashed out on recruitment trips but school had no vacancies, reports Nigel Iskander

A headteacher who spent pound;15,000 of public money on trips to recruit foreign teachers, despite his school being fully staffed, has been banned from becoming a head again.

Paul Regan, formerly of Kingsford community college in Newham, London, had three counts against him proven by a General Teaching Council of England misconduct hearing in Birmingham last week. He was accused of misusing school property and funds, disregarding school and local authority rules and the governing body.

The GTC heard how Mr Regan overpaid unqualified foreign teachers after being appointed head of the school in 1999. At a previous hearing, the panel heard how he paid nearly pound;1,000 to fly teacher Jenny Song from China for a meeting before hiring her on a annual salary of more than pound;33,000 a year. Mr Regan also loaned her a school piano, allowed her to come in late and work four days a week instead of five.

Martine St-Pierre, another unqualified teacher, was paid pound;7,000 more than she should have been. Both women were taken off the timetable and given business roles shortly after their appointments.

Newham council was concerned by an agreement between Mr Regan and the women in which they would get paid for recruiting other foreign teachers, even though the school had no vacancies.

The panel heard that Miss Song was to get 50 per cent of any fees paid to the school for teachers successfully appointed to other UK schools, while Miss St-Pierre was to receive pound;500 per teacher.

At a previous hearing, Robert Bourns, the presenting officer, told the committee that the pound;15,000 spent on 10 trips abroad within 13 months was a misuse of public funds.

Mr Regan also appointed a teaching assistant to work as a teacher and created a position, without council consent, for another teaching assistant.

He was suspended in February 2002 and resigned shortly after when a council investigation into his conduct began.

Gail Mortimer, chair of the panel, said: "There is no evidence of Mr Regan not being a competent teacher, but his actions as head were not appropriate behaviour and amounted to misconduct.

"He should not hold a headship until further notice. Mr Regan can appeal against this decision to the High Court."

Ian Poole, representing Mr Regan, added: "Mr Regan had tried desperately hard to establish himself at the school. He tried to do his best by staff and pupils.

"He had not had any previous headships and was not quite the right person for the job.

"Although his action had been misguided, he was motivated in wanting to do his best for his pupils but he had overstepped his authority as a head."

He said that Mr Regan was now teaching in South Africa.

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