Schools for scandal: you'd never believe it

9th September 2005 at 01:00
They don't all have the nerve of headteacher Colleen McCabe, jailed for five years in 2003 for blowing half a million belonging to St John Rigby College in West Wickham, Kent, on holidays, jewellery and shoes. Many are the tales of heads keeping Harvest Festival offerings or pocketing petty cash., but they can't compare.

The press like stories of discipline breaking down. The progressive William Tyndale in Islington was a cause cel bre in the 1970s and The Ridings in Halifax was put in the spotlight when things got hairy in the mid 1990s. Both have since pulled themselves round.

Other scandals are one-offs: the five-year-old who slipped out of school and walked home, over two main roads and a busy junction. No one noticed.

Or internal feuds. The female head and male deputy who were not on speaking terms. The deputy stuck the head's head onto a photograph of a Page 3 girl and stuck it on the door to her office for all to see.

A head in the North had a flower stall at the local market so was not available on Tuesday mornings. A female head in the same town had a regular hair appointment on Friday afternoons. Amazingly, they both got away with it, for years, and are now retired.

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