Colin Coleman, who ran Linaker Primary School in Southport, spent £15,000 on a planned expedition to the North Pole, £30,000 on trips to India and China and £24,000 on photography equipment.
The 49-year-old was sacked by Sefton council in 2014 for gross misconduct after the allegations came to light.
A tribunal has now found Coleman guilty of misconduct and he has been banned from the profession.
The misconduct panel found:
- Coleman spent on excess of £1,200 of school funds on a Sony projector and screen for the Shirdley Hill girl-guiding centre, just outside Southport, which his wife helped to run.
- Coleman handed almost £30,000 of school cash to the Linaker Links Community Trust, a charity Coleman helped to set up, to cover its rent from 2010 to 2013. The school was also charged room hire totalling £9,600.
- Coleman spent £30,000 on two international trips in 2013 – one to China for 10 pupils and one to India, which no pupils went on. The headteacher justified this by saying the school had a “reputation for international work”.
- Coleman failed to account for £2,500 of school petty cash taken to spend on the China and India trips.
- Coleman used £15,000 of school funds to pay the deposit for himself and two other members of staff to go on a North Pole expedition in aid of Help for Heroes and the Teenage Cancer Trust.
- Coleman, who runs his own photography website, spent £24,000 of school money on photographic equipment over four terms. The misconduct panel ruled some of the higher-value equipment was purchased for his personal use.
- Coleman spent £350 of school cash on a specialist photography course for himself to improve his “work-life balance”.
- He sent a note to the school finance manager “with the intention of deceiving” the financial auditor who was investigating his spending.
Update – Nov 23 2015
A Southport head teacher faces conduct hearing after gross misconduct sacking
Department for Education decision-maker Alan Meyrick said: “He showed a total disregard for financial and management regulations… and pursued projects for his own purposes at the expense of pupils in his care.”
Coleman is banned from teaching indefinitely, but may apply for this order to be lifted after four years.
The former head teacher of a Southport primary school will face a professional conduct hearing, 24th to 27th November 2015.
Colin Coleman, from Southport, was the head of Linaker Primary School for more than 13 years before he was dismissed for gross misconduct.
Coleman will now stand before a professional conduct panel from 24th to 27th November.
Sefton Council carried out an audit on the school in early 2014, which looked at the business accounts of the Sefton Street school. Mr Coleman was handed a precautionary suspension, pending the outcome of the audit.
Mrs Lisa Brown was appointed acting head in Mr Coleman’s at the time of his suspension and she remains in the position.
At the time of the suspension, a letter was sent to parents(below) informing them that Mr Coleman would not be returning to the position of headteacher.
Linaker Primary School Headteacher Colin Coleman suspended (Southport)
Parents of pupils at Linaker Primary School in Southport were given a letter explaining the suspension of Headteacher Colin Coleman this afternoon (Friday 24th January 2014).
Lisa Brown will be acting as Headteacher until further notice.
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