Banned head takes DfE to High Court for right to appeal

Banned head takes DfE to High Court for right to appeal

A banned headteacher has taken the Department for Education to High Court in a bid to overturn a decision that prevents her appealing her prohibition order.

Joanna Shuter CBE, former head of Quintin Kynaston Community Academy in north London, and Head Teacher of the Year at the 2007 National Teaching Awards, was given a lifetime ban in May after she admitted unacceptable professional conduct.

A note added to her prohibition order this week said an “amended decision notice” had been issued prematurely, on November 5.

A listing on the National College of Teaching and Leadership website said a “consent order” had been agreed between Ms Shuter and the secretary of state, which sought to quash the original decision notice, specifically the secretary of state’s decision not to impose a review period.

It said: “The secretary of state has concluded that the decision not to set a period after which Ms Shuter would be entitled to apply for a review of the prohibition order was not a proportionate sanction given the factual allegations proved upon admission before the professional conduct panel . . . ”

The consent order, however, has not yet been approved by the High Court. Once it has been approved, the NCTL says, the new version will “provide a full explanation as to why the decision has been amended”.

The original decision notice said: “Ms Shuter has failed to show genuine insight into the severity and impact of her behaviours2.

Paul Heathcote, on behalf of the secretary of state, said: “In light of this, and the serious and deliberate nature of the conduct, I agree with the panel’s recommendation that the prohibition order should be without the opportunity for Ms Shuter to apply for the order to be set aside.”

Ms Shuter admitted that she claimed £6,292.90 from the academy in 2011 for her 50th birthday party; charged the school for furniture worth £1,500 that was delivered to her home; made her PA book flights and arrange the rental of her holiday home; claimed almost £6,000 of taxi journeys not for school business; claimed £8,269 for an overnight stay at the Grove Hotel in Chandler’s Cross for her leadership team; made extensive expenses claims, including mobile phone contracts for herself and her children; and took on extra paid work for consultancy and speaking at conferences during term time.

UPDATE: On Friday, November 28, the NCTL published the updated decision, which has now been approved by the High Court. It states Ms Shuter is able to apply for the prohibition order to be set aside after two years, from the date of the original decision.

Mr Heathcote’s amended statement reads: “In my original decision dated 6 May 2014, I agreed with the Panel’s recommendation that the prohibition order should be without the opportunity for Ms Shuter to apply for the order to be set aside.

“For the reasons set out in the introduction to this decision, it has been agreed that the Original Decision should be quashed insofar as it relates to the decision not to impose a review period.

“I have now re-considered this matter in light of the points raised by Ms Shuter on appeal and consider that the decision not to set a period, after which Ms Shuter would be entitled to apply for a review of the prohibition order, was not a proportionate sanction given the factual allegations proved upon admission before the Panel. I therefore depart from the Panel’s recommendations in this regard and consider that Ms Shuter should be entitled to apply for the prohibition order to be set aside once a period of two years has elapsed from the date on which it came into force.”

 

Pic: Joanna Shuter receiving her CBE from the Queen in 2010 (PA)

 

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