Lifetime ban for head who showed “flagrant favouritism” over pay rises for daughter

File photo of children at a school. Photo: Dave Thompson/PA Wire

File photo of children at a school. Photo: Dave Thompson/PA Wire - Credit: PA

A headteacher who ran her school 'as her own personal fiefdom' has been banned from teaching for life for fraud and dishonesty.

Linda Grainger, former head of Queensway Infant School in Thetford, gave her daughter a job as a teaching assistant without advertising the role, and showed her 'flagrant favouritism' by giving her 'highly unusual and disproportionate increases' in pay, a National College for Teaching and Leadership panel found.

Today's report also said she inappropriately commissioned her daughter's partner as a decorator, and inappropriately ordered £10,000 worth of stationery in January 2015, splitting the order into five separate invoices to avoid seeking the approval of the governing body.

The 59-year-old did not attend the hearing on September 26-28, but denied all allegations.

In a report published yesterday, the panel said: 'Mrs Grainger lost sight of her professional obligations and duties. She failed to maintain proper professional boundaries, although she was aware they were required. She made promises to the governing body that she did not keep.

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'She plainly favoured her daughter, offering her opportunities in terms of pay and progression that were not open to others, and was dishonest in the pursuit of this. In short, the panel is satisfied she put family first; school and the public purse second.'

It added: 'The panel was clear that Mrs Grainger ran the school as her own personal fiefdom.'

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It acknowledged she did not have any previous disciplinary findings against her, and said a number of professional colleagues at other schools 'considered her to be a competent headteacher'.

Sue Wade, the school's chair of governors, said Mrs Grainger had not been head since April 2015, and added: 'The recent hearing related very clearly to financial and management issues and was not in any way a child safeguarding issue. Nonetheless, the school took these issues very seriously and prompt action was taken.

'Since this process started a new leadership team has been established at the school, who are continuing to concentrate their efforts on improving the education, outcomes and wellbeing of all the children.'

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