An ex-headteacher from the area of Wickford, south of England, has been banned from teaching for life after she admitted to five counts of unacceptable professional misconduct during her previous post.
Mrs Carole Ritchie, 57, was a school headteacher at Castledon School before mysteriously taking five months’ paid leave and then resigning from her post. After a full tribunal inquiry, she received a lifetime ban from the profession of teaching after she was found guilty of a number of misconducts.
One of them involved her hiring her now-husband, Mr. Colin Ritchie, to work as a senior teaching assistant at the school, even though he had criminal convictions and no previous experience in the field. The post was not advertised, and no Criminal Records Bureau check was carried out.
Stephen Nunn, the school’s human resources advisor, warned Ms. Ritchie against hiring her then-partner on the basis he was not suitable, but she refused to listen.
Three months later when her partner had resigned from the post, Ms. Ritchie hired his firm CPR to carry out building work on the school. She handed out six projects to the firm without getting at least three competitive quotes beforehand. Three of the projects also ran over budget by about £60,000.
A notice published on behalf of the Secretary of State Michael Gove said:
“The admitted facts disclose failures that together demonstrate very poor judgement and a lack of compliance.
Her proper handling of other contractors led the panel to conclude that her disregard of procedures was both selective and deliberate.”
With reference to Ms. Ritchie’s recruitment, the notice said:
“The facts in this case centre on Mrs Ritchie’s failure to follow proper financial and recruitment procedures at the school; procedures that were in place to ensure the appropriate use of public monies, and to safeguard pupils.”
The Castledon school Governing Body said they conducted a full inquiry as soon as it came to light that Ms Ritchie had not been following the correct processes with regards to financial expenditure and recruitment. Ms Ritchie is said to have appeared before a panel of governors before she was dismissed.
The findings were passed on to the National College for Teaching and Leadership and Ms. Ritchie was banned from teaching for life by the Education Secretary.
She has 28 days to appeal the ban, however, and may also apply to have the ban set aside after two years.
The Chair of governors, Nan Ashkettle, also said the matter had been referred to the local police who, after investigation, did not decide to proceed with the case.