Guilty head employed Russian teacher as personal assistant

15th July 2005 at 01:00
A headteacher has been reprimanded after securing a work permit for a Russian teacher, then using her as his personal assistant.

John Mann, the former head of Gloucester primary school in Peckham, south London, was found guilty of unacceptable professional conduct by England's General Teaching Council after it emerged that Natalia Vedernikova never worked in the classroom.

A hearing was told that Mr Mann employed six teachers from Russia and Bulgaria after joining the school in January 2001.

In September 2002 he secured an overseas teacher work permit for a seventh, Ms Vedernikova. But when she arrived in November that year there was no teaching position available, so she did his administration instead.

Last week, the GTC issued Mr Mann with an official reprimand, which will be kept on his teaching record for two years.

The GTC heard that school governors had asked local council officials to investigate Mr Mann's affairs in autumn 2002. It was claimed that the head had spent lavishly and employed more overseas teachers than were needed.

The officials found that he had bought a pound;13,000 telephone system without getting approval from the governors. He also allegedly failed to disclose his private business partnership with a consultant who was an adviser to the school.

The GTC was told Mr Mann had inherited a cash surplus of pound;250,000 when he took over, but by the time he was suspended the school had only a small surplus.

Mr Mann was suspended in December 2002 and later dismissed for gross misconduct.

He did not attend the hearing and was not represented.

Two other charges of authorising expenditure in excess of his delegated authority and failing to disclose his business interest were found not to be proven.

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