A SCHOOL head who had used cash raised by pupils and parents to fund staff parties and alcohol for the teachers was struck off the teaching register.

Wendy Rowlands was “dishonest” in making out cheques to herself when in charge of the school’s playgroup and in withholding financial records from council auditors, it was ruled on Friday, November 15.

Robert Newsome, chairman of a disciplinary panel of the Education Workforce Council, announced at the end of a Ewloe, Flintshire, hearing which had lasted several days that the prohibition order against Miss Rowlands would be indefinite although she could apply to be re-registered after two years.

She was head of Penmaenrhos School, Colwyn Bay, from 2005 until 2015, when she took over as head of the new school Ysgol Swn-y-Don. Miss Rowlands was sacked last year when an audit revealed several failings in her financial management .

Miss Rowlands did not attend the Education Workforce Council hearing but admitted most of the allegations against her. They included failing to close the accounts of Penmaenrhos and Tanymarian schools after they had merged, failing to open a new account for Ysgol Swn-y-Mor which meant that cheques worth £1,800 could not be paid in and failing to ensure that accounts were audited.

The committee was told she had used the school fund – money raised by parents and pupils – to pay for staff Christmas parties, a morale-boosting trip to Chester for staff, and alcohol for staff parties.

The first party, in December, 2012, was authorised by the chairman of the governors, Cllr Brian Cossey, as a reward for their hard work, but he said in evidence that he would not have approved the other spending.

Miss Rowlands, now working as a supply teacher, said in a statement that she was ashamed to have used the fund for the benefit of the staff and not the children.

The allegation which she denied related to her involvement with the playgroup, which she claimed was a separate entity to the school.

Between June, 2015, and July, 2017, she received £6,500 for her work but there was no authorisation for such payments.

She claimed that she paid herself “about £15 an hour” but committee chairman Robert Newsome said that was “implausible” as it would have meant her working 400 hours at a time when she had other duties.

In upholding most of the allegations against her, the committee found she had shown a lack of integrity amounting to “unacceptable professional conduct”.

Miss Rowlands explained that she had failed to carry out some of the tasks because she was so busy with the opening of the new school and the financial matters “were not at the top of her list of priorities”.

She said that for a while she was acting as clerk of works for the new building and also faced animosity from some parents over her appointment.

Announcing her striking-off, Mr Newsome said lesser sanctions such as a reprimand or suspension would be inappropriate. “There are a number of aggravating features,” he declared, “dishonesty and not providing documentation in relation to payments made to yourself.”

Afterwards Colin Adkins, representing her on behalf of the National Association of Schoolmasters/ Union of Women Teachers said : “I’m disappointed the committee has not translated the strong mitigating circumstances into making a more proportionate sanction in respect of her conduct.”