Monday, June 11, 2012

Headteacher stole from school to buy pirate costumes

A headteacher has been banned from the classroom for stealing £7,238 from her school to buy pirate costumes for her daughter's hen night party. Ann Regan resigned from her post at Hamstead Infants School, Great Barr, Birmingham, after it emerged she had stolen the cash from the children's 'treats' fund to buy fancy dress for the pre-wedding party. The 45 year-old mother, from Sutton Coldfield, admitted defrauding the money and was handed a ten-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, and ordered to carry out 240 hours' community service at Wolverhampton Crown Court in March last year.

Now the shamed teacher has been booted out of the profession following a disciplinary hearing by the Teaching Agency. Regan began working in the school in 2005. But it was discovered that she had been submitting false invoices for cash taken from the 'treats' fund and used some of the cash to buy the hen party costumes. Teaching Agency panel chair Mick Levens said: "Your offence, which was one of dishonesty, clearly breached the standards required of teaching professionals. It has material relevance to your fitness to be a teacher. You have taken advantage of your profession for financial gain, and have not upheld public trust and confidence in the profession."

Regan's case was heard by the Teaching Agency on May 8. The disciplinary panel was told that she used internet shopping sites to put goods into an online basket then print off an image of the screen as proof she had paid for the items. But instead she cancelled the order then claimed the cash. Between September 2009 and June 2010 she received 13 reimbursement payments from the school budget as a result. Regan was caught out when the school's secretary overheard her saying that she wanted to buy pirate outfits for her daughter's hen night.

The secretary asked her son to check the documents Regan submitted and governors were notified after he found discrepancies in July 2010. Initially she denied any wrongdoing saying she had needed the cash and had planned to pay it back. She was suspended on July 21 2010, but resigned a month later after admitting she had carried out fraud. At her court hearing it emerged that she had paid £5,000 to Sandwell Council shortly after she quit her post. The judge made a compensation order for the remaining £2,238.

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