Ex-head of Usk school denies cover-up
2:45pm Friday 20th September 2013 in Monmouthshire news
A FORMER headteacher has admitted her monitoring of its financial situation as “woeful,” but strenuously denied she fabricated invoices as a cover-up.
Claire Gething, who was in charge at Usk Primary School from 2005 to 2011, gave evidence at a General Teaching Council for Wales hearing yesterday.
Mrs Gething admits four allegations of failing to carry out her role as head effectively, including failing to implement recommendations made by auditors and failing to effectively monitor, supervise and manage the school administrator and accepted that it amounted to unacceptable professional conduct.
She denied 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 this behaviour was dishonest.
Mrs Gething, who has since returned to the classroom, was asked about her monitoring of the school’s finances, which had a deficit of £82,000.
She said: “It was woeful and I take full responsibility for that. I failed in my role as headteacher and I was out of my depth.”
Mrs Gething said she’d had a support system for financial matters at her old school and at Usk, had entrusted school administrator Angela Williams to keep a check on things. She admitted her managerial qualities were not up to task but added: “I did not manufacture invoices.”
The hearing was told the school had thousands of pounds of unpaid invoices. Mrs Gething said Mrs Williams had said she would sort it out.
On the audit report, she said: “I had been led to believe the audit had been undertaken by a colleague.” Mrs Gething said at one stage, the caretaker had to break open a cupboard and in it were cheques, unpaid invoices, dinner and swimming money.
An auditor found before that no cash was banked into the private school account for two and a half years.
GTCW presenting officer Lousha Bryl said Mrs Gething had brought the school into disrepute, it was chased by creditors, was subject to a police investigation and impacted on standards of learning. Her defence said no real effort had been made to determine when the documents were created. The committee retired to October 23 to consider their verdict.