Outcry over 1,700-mile commute

30th January 2009 at 00:00

A top education official this week defended a colleague who commutes to Denbighshire from the Canary Islands.

Gareth Wyn Jones, head of school improvement in Denbighshire, told TES Cymru that all officers in the authority were committed to raising standards, regardless of where they lived. "There are a lot of good things happening in Denbighshire schools. I am working with some of the most able people I've ever worked with," he said.

Catherine Simpson, the authority's interim head of school inclusion, came under fire from politicians, teachers and governors this week when it emerged that she flies 1,700 miles from Lanzarote every fortnight to do her job.

She pays for the flights, but Denbighshire pays her hotel bills.

In a statement, Ms Simpson, a former chief education officer of Torfaen council, said her commitment to Denbighshire was "unquestionable" and that she worked far more than her contracted hours.

Denbighshire council also pays weekly hotel bills for another staff member, Dr Mohammed Mehmet, who commutes from London.

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