Bungling head mislays pound;450k

7th July 2006 at 01:00
School leader misses public hearing as porn revelations add to embarrassment

A headteacher who plunged his school pound;450,000 into the red has been suspended for two years from teaching and banned forever from any involvement with school finances.

Boyd Chapman, who was head at Henry Mellish, in Nottingham, was the subject of 11 allegations, from failing to meet budget targets to accessing inappropriate websites on a school laptop, at a hearing of England's General Teaching Council.

Mr Chapman, who did not attend the GTC hearing, rejected the allegations in a letter to Graham Shaw, the presenting officer. He had requested a private hearing, citing embarrassment and medical reasons, but this was rejected by the disciplinary committee on grounds of public interest.

John Mayes, GTC panel chairman, said: "As a result of his actions the quality of education suffered at the school."

Mr Chapman became head of Henry Mellish in November 2000, after it had been put into special measures. In his projected budget for 2001-2, Mr Chapman predicted a surplus of pound;44,325, - yet the school was already in the red. Mr Shaw said: "Mr Chapman showed a lack of candour in dealing with the budget."

Mr Chapman did not inform governors of a predicted deficit until a scheduled termly meeting on June 24, 2002, in which he presented a pound;95,000 deficit for the financial year 20012.

Elizabeth Shepherd, the school's finance manager, said: "I was told by Mr Chapman that the LEA was helping to lift the school from special measures."

The number of staff appointments was also contentious. In June 2001, Mr Chapman told the governing body that he had made 26 new appointments, with no explanation as to why.

Joan Young was deputy head before taking over as acting head in October 2002 after Mr Chapman's suspension. She said: "Mr Chapman told me on a number of occasions that if the school got out of the special measures then the LEA would not be bothered if we went over the budget slightly."

She said that the Department for Education and Skills intervened to give financial support, after Mr Chapman's suspension, and the school had seven years to balance the budget. But by then it was pound;450,000 in deficit, she said.

During the hearing it emerged that Mr Chapman had originally agreed a loan of pound;169,000 with the local authority to buy IT equipment. He later took out a further pound;79,000 loan, without informing the governing body.

Mr Chapman was also found guilty of accessing adult pornographic sites on a school laptop. The material was found on the computer when he returned it after his suspension. In March 2003, governors conducted an investigation that identified the nature of the material, although it could not be proved that Mr Chapman had viewed the sites at the school.

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