Ex-Usk head teacher accused of forging invoices
A FORMER head teacher of a Monmouthshire primary school allegedly fabricated invoices to justify expenditure from the school's private fund account, a tribunal heard this week.
Claire Gething, former head teacher at Usk Primary School, admits four allegations of failing to carry out her role as head teacher, including not implementing recommendations made by auditors and not effectively supervising the school administrator, and accepted that it amounted to unacceptable professional conduct.
But she denies a further three allegations of being complicit in fabricating invoices, an independent auditor's report, and class lists of income received into the school private fund account, and that this behaviour was dishonest.
This week the General Teaching Council for Wales (GTCW) professional conduct committee heard from presenting officer Lousha Bryl, who read from a series of interviews conducted by investigating officer Phil Cooke.
Mr Cooke concluded that Mrs Gething, who was suspended on March 17, 2011, failed to fulfill a fundamental aspect of her job description and was part of an "active fraudulent partnership" with former school administrator Angela Williams, in fabricating class lists, invoices and an auditor's report.
The tribunal heard that the head teacher was often missing from financial meetings, and that at one point there was £3,000-worth of school meals that had not been paid for. It also heard money would often be left in the school administrator's office in a cupboard which was not locked or left openly on the desk.
Between July 2007 and January 2010, no cash was put in the private fund account, and some of the money raised by children never made it to the intended charities, including Sport Relief and Children in Need, the tribunal heard.
Mrs Williams alleged that it was Mrs Gething's idea to fabricate invoices, the report and class lists before a second audit could take place.
She admitted forging Mrs Gething's signature on two occasions but claims Mrs Gething forged all but two of the invoices "because I was no good at it".
She said: "I do not know why Mrs Gething is blaming me for it all. I can only presume she did not tell the truth from the outset and the longer it has gone on the harder it became to tell the truth."
Andrew Faux, representing Mrs Gething, accused Mrs Williams of stealing cash, which Mrs Williams denied.
Mrs Williams said she had requested parents pay by cheque because coins were heavy, but that cash was left in an unsecured cupboard because she could not always fit it in a smaller safe.
Mrs Williams was suspended and interviewed by investigating officers, when she told them she had £700 in the boot of her car intended for the school council fund, which she and Mrs Gething had put it there before the second audit and forgotten about.
Current head teacher Jared Nolan joined the school as deputy head in September 2009. He told the committee he was immediately concerned about the "chaotic" way the school was run under Mrs Gething.
Claire Gething will give evidence today.