Bury St Edmunds: Former head teacher banned for ‘abusing her position’
- Credit: Eastern Counties Newspapers
A FORMER head teacher of a Bury St Edmunds school has been banned from the country’s classrooms for at least two years for abusing her position.
The ban was imposed by Education Secretary Michael Gove after a disciplinary panel found Fiona Susan Bromley, 60, guilty of “unacceptable professional conduct” whilst employed as Head teacher at Howard Middle School between 2005 and 2010.
The Teaching Agency panel findings say in the decision announced yesterday that Bromley was suspended by the Beard Road school in February 2010, following a number of complaints from staff.
The Chair of Governors requested that the Local Authority undertake an investigation, which found “misconduct over a sustained period” by her in her role as leader of the school.
In backing the panel’s call for her to be banned the Education Secretary says in the findings: “Mrs Bromley’s actions have been a serious departure from the professional standards expected of a teacher.
“As head teacher she was in a position of significant responsibility and trust and she has clearly abused that position over a considerable period of time.
“The panel have concluded that her behaviour must have been deliberate and that she benefitted from those actions. I concur with the panel’s recommendation that a Prohibition Order be imposed in this case.”
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Describing the activities of Mrs Bromley that lead to her suspension, the disciplinary panel, which heard the case in Coventry on March 19, say in their findings that she acted outside of agreed policies by requesting private and personal leave for herself and colleague Katie Cobb to go to Tenerife and to attend a concert in London.
They say that she advised staff that she was taking unpaid leave to visit Africa, but sought authority from the Chair of Governors to take four planning days and one wellbeing day to extend her visit to the continent over five school term days.
The panel also found that she appointed Patricia Milne, her sister, on 9 February 2005 without an application form having been completed or pre-employment checks carried out, failed to declare their relationship to the Governors prior to the appointment, and did not enter the information on the Register of Pecuniary Interests.
The panel said that it had received positive references from her current head teacher and head of department which made it clear that she is still giving something to the profession.
It said that all the allegations arose from her position as head teacher and a distinction could be drawn between her role as a head teacher and that of a teacher.
However, recommending that she should nevertheless be banned the panel says: “Mrs Bromley was the head teacher of the school and abused her position in a number of ways over a period of years.
“The Panel believe that her behaviour must have been deliberate and that it gave her and some others significant benefits. Such conduct is incompatible with being a teacher.
“We have, therefore, decided that it is necessary to recommend a Prohibition Order to maintain public confidence in the profession and to uphold proper standards of conduct.”
Taking into account reports of her current employment as a teacher, it recommended that a minimum period of two years should apply before Bromley can apply to have the Prohibition Order reviewed.
The decision means that Bromley is prohibited from teaching in any school, sixth form college, relevant youth accommodation or children’s home in England.
She may apply for the Prohibition Order to be set aside, but not until March 2015, and if she does so she will have to persuade a panel that she is fit to return to the classroom.
She has a right of appeal to the High Court.