Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 19 April 2014

Honoured headteacher suspended

Headteacher Jo Shuter was awarded a CBE in 2010

A headteacher awarded the CBE for services to education has been suspended from her school amid "serious allegations" of financial irregularities.

Jo Shuter, who was honoured in 2010 and won the 2007 Head Teacher of the Year award, transformed her under-achieving London comprehensive into a successful academy.

She has been asked to stay away from Quintin Kynaston School in St John's Wood after "serious allegations relating to the management of the school" were referred to police.

Patrick Lees, chair of school governors, said: "On receipt of serious allegations relating to the management of the school, governors took immediate action to initiate an investigation and are now referring the matter to the police.

"In order to facilitate this investigation and ensure that pupils' education is not compromised during this process, we have now also taken the decision to suspend the headteacher.

"Governors are seeking to reassure the school community, who will be undoubtedly shocked and unsettled by this news, that the highest priority is being given to the smooth running of the school and to this end, governors are seeking to appoint an interim headteacher as soon as possible."

Ms Shuter described the allegations - which are unclear - as "malicious and vindictive". She told BBC London: "There is an investigation process ongoing and I'm not allowed to comment. I urge people to wait and see the outcome."

A Metropolitan Police spokeswoman said: "On Wednesday September 12 police were made aware of possible financial irregularities at Quintin Kynaston School. We will be discussing the matter with the school in due course. No crime has been recorded at this stage."

Westminster City Council, which ran the school before it was given academy status in 2011, said: "We understand Quintin Kynaston's board of governors has taken rapid action in carrying out an investigation into these serious allegations relating to school management, as well as suspending the headteacher pending a formal disciplinary process and reporting the matter to the police."

A Department for Education spokesman said: "The suspension of the headteacher is a matter for the Quintin Kynaston Trust. The Trust have rightly taken responsibility for the situation and carried out a full independent investigation."

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