Head used school funds for staff Christmas party

As reported by the BBC, Conwy head teacher Wendy Rowlands used school funds intended for pupils for a staff party, a tribunal has been told

Rowlands also used the fund to pay for a hotel stay after a conference even though she lived five minutes away, it was claimed.

Rowlands, who was sacked from Ysgol Swn Y Don, Old Colwyn, denies unacceptable professional conduct at a fitness to practise hearing. She is accused of using school funds – raised through events including a Christmas concert – for “inappropriate purposes”, including a staff Christmas party in 2012 and a staff outing.

Her representative, Colin Adkins of the NASUWT, said she was a “fall guy”. He told the Education Workforce Wales hearing that school governors failed in their responsibility to manage the school fund and “dumped responsibility on Miss Rowlands”.

Rowlands was appointed head of Penmaenrhos Junior School in 2005 and when the school merged with Ysgol Tan y Marian in 2015 she became head of the new school, Ysgol Swn Y Don.

The chairman of governors, Brian Cossey, said he gave the go-ahead for the staff party to be paid for from school funds, but felt at the time it was justified after a “very difficult year”.

However, he said he now accepted it was “not the kind of expenditure the school fund should be used for”. Cossey said he was unaware of any other “inappropriate expenditure”.

It is also claimed Rowlands failed to close the two original schools’ accounts and open a new one, meaning cheques totalling £1,800 had not been paid in for two years.

Conwy council audit manager Keith Williams said the school fund, for which Rowlands was treasurer, should have been audited annually, but was not done from 2011 to 2017.

Rowlands, who faces 10 allegations, has admitted some of them but does not accept they amount to unacceptable professional conduct.

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The hearing continues.

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