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Black Country head banned from teaching for life after bumping his own salary by £19k

By Richard Guttridge | Dudley | News | Published:

A headteacher who tricked a colleague into bumping up his salary by £19,000 has been banned from teaching for life.

David Bishop-Rowe, former head at The Sutton School and Specialist College in Dudley, took advantage of a fellow staff member’s poor eyesight to get his pay rise signed off.

The increase, which had not been approved by the school’s governing body, took his salary up to £110,851, an investigation found.

The 61-year-old was also found to have committed a ‘sustained course of dishonest conduct’, including directing thousands of pounds owed to the school to a company set up by himself.

Mr Bishop-Rowe led the school in Scotts Green Close, which serves pupils with special educational needs, from 2002 until he resigned in 2014 after a whistleblower triggered an investigation.

He has been banned from the profession by the National College for Teaching and Leadership, part of the Department for Education, after admitting a string of allegations.

David Bishop-Rowe

The panel found Mr Bishop-Rowe had ‘deliberately sought to conceal’ the fact he set up a private company, Education Development Consultancy (EDC), where money that should have gone to the school was funnelled.

It said that almost £28,000 the school should have received for work he did for the National College for School Leadership (NCSL) was instead redirected to EDC after he added the company’s bank details to invoices without the knowledge of the school, or the NCSL.

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Further investigation found that Mr Bishop-Rowe was named as a director of EDC, meaning ‘payments made to EDC were being paid in effect directly to Mr Bishop-Rowe’.

The former head, who was named runner-up in the education category at the Dudley Civic Awards in 2006, was also paid as an associate at the University of Wolverhampton when he had not been given permission to carry out private work.

And the panel also heard how he managed to orchestrate a 21 per cent pay rise by getting a colleague with poor eyesight to sign it off.

When the worker was questioned she said she ‘didn’t know what she was signing’. Another witness described the salary uplift as ‘absolutely disgusting’.

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David Bishop-Rowe

Mr Bishop-Rowe was found to have committed further deception, including instructing the deputy headteacher to falsify an invoice to include the cost of three supply teachers as part of a compensation claim against a coach company used for a school trip.

The panel also ruled that he ‘inappropriately’ received £47,000 as, when working out of school one day a week, he was only supposed to be paid a percentage of revenue generated for the school, when in fact at the time the school was not receiving any money. He was also found to have claimed money for lunchtime duties when he was not at school and bought a £4,000 Yamaha Clavinova piano for his personal use through the school in order to avoid paying VAT on the instrument.

Mr Bishop-Rowe claimed he believed NCSL and EDC had a separate contract to the school, while he insisted his pay rise was for ‘additional responsibilities’.

But the disciplinary panel found he ‘deliberately sought to conceal from the governing body and zits chair key information such as his setting up and involvement in EDC’.

Mr Bishop-Rowe, who was not at the hearing but admitted the allegations against him, was banned from teaching indefinitely.

The Sutton School and Specialist College in Dudley

Panel chairman Alan Meyrick added that he ‘should not be entitled to apply for restoration of his eligibility to teach’.

In its report, the panel found that his ‘sustained course of dishonest conduct’ was ‘aggravated by the deliberate cover-up and the exploitation of other members of the school community’.

The report said Mr Bishop-Rowe apologised for his ‘unscrupulousness’ and said: “I accept my misconduct and do not seek to deny responsibility.”

Mr Bishop-Rowe refused to comment.

Richard Guttridge

By Richard Guttridge
Chief Reporter - @RichG_star

Chief Reporter for the Express & Star, based in Wolverhampton.

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