Usk teacher banned indefinitely from being in charge of schools
7:01am Friday 25th October 2013 in News
A FORMER headteacher of Usk Primary School whose financial dishonesty had an impact on her pupils' experiences can continue to teach, a tribunal ruled.
But Claire Gething, who was at the helm from 2005 until her suspension in 2011, was banned indefinitely from being in charge of a school, as a headteacher, deputy, or in a senior management role.
Members of the General Teaching Council for Wales (GTCW) committee found evidence proved Mrs Gething, who last month told them her monitoring of its financial situation was "woeful," was complicit in fabricating an independent auditor's report on the 2008/9 school's private fund account.
Resuming on Wednesday, they were satisfied she was not motivated by personal gain, but she lied to auditors and the evidence indicated she was trying to conceal the report.
Mrs Gething, who now specialises in teaching children at risk of underachieving at Herefordshire's Kingstone Academy Trust, had already admitted four allegations.
These were that she failed to exercise sufficient control over the school's finances, did not carry out duties relating to its money management as her role required, failed to implement recommendations from auditors and failed to effectively monitor the school administrator when delegating duties relating to financial affairs.
The hearing heard these amounted to unacceptable professional conduct, but committee chairman Steve Powell said it had not been proven Mrs Gething had fabricated invoices to justify expenditure from the school's private fund account or class lists of income.
Members were satisfied some of the school's invoices had been made up, but they could not agree the former headteacher was involved.
Before making their decision, Mrs Gething had the chance to tell the panel about her current teaching role, of years five, six, seven and eight.
She said returning to the classroom after being a non-teaching head at Usk was "a bit of a baptism of fire" and her husband remarked he "had got Claire back" because she was more like herself.
Spending her time waiting for the committee's decision sourcing images for displays her pupils have coming up, Mrs Gething said she had no desire to run a school again, adding: "I would hope I would continue to make a difference in the lives of individual children I work with."
Mitigation witness Julie Jones, Kingstone's head of teaching and learning for the primary section, said she rated her colleague "highly" and the school would struggle to replace someone with her experience.
However Lousha Bryl, the GTCW's presenting officer, later argued Mrs Gething's behaviour at Usk was not "one isolated lapse."
"The school was brought into disrepute," she said, adding Mrs Gething's actions "undoubtedly" had an impact on pupils because the money problems meant the children missed out on tools for their development.
Representing Mrs Gething, Andrew Faux said his client was a serious, dedicated professional who had admitted a "very serious matter" of the financial mismanagement.
The conditional registration order means Mrs Gething must comply with the orders of the committee.
The most serious outcome of such a GTCW hearing can see a teacher struck off.
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