Head blasted for 'junket' trip

6th October 2000 at 01:00
A FRESH Start head has been criticised for going to a three-day conference in the United States while his school "approaches meltdown", writes Julie Henry.

Kevin Beaton, head of Kingswood high school, Hull, has accompanied school standards minister Estelle Morris and officials to Washington for the "turning around low-performing schools" conference.

The Yorkshire Post quoted an unnamed staff member who complained: "The school is approaching meltdown while he is off on a junket."

The pound;3,000-per-person trip is being paid for by the Department for Education and Employment.

It involves a four-day stay in a hotel opposite the White House, lectures, schoolvisits, a reception at the British embassy and tour of the ambassador's residence.

Former deputy head Sally Walker said: "I am absolutely amazed that a man who for two years running has got the worst results in Hull is going to lecture about raising standards."

In 1999, 8 per cent of Kingswood's GCSE candidates gained five or more A*-Cs, but this year that figure slumped to 2.7 per cent.

Twenty of the school's original 48 staff have left.

Among those flying to America are Lord Puttnam, chairman of the General Teaching Council, and other heads of failing schools including Peter Clark, former head of The Ridings, who now works for the DFEE.

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