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Carmarthenshire Education West Wales

Headteacher faces striking off after financial gains from School-Linked Nursery revealed

THE EDUCATION WORKFORCE COUNCIL (EWC) in Wales has heard damning evidence against Catherine Lloyd-Jenkins, the headteacher of Ysgol Ffwrnes in Llanelli, who allegedly financially benefited from Cywion Cile nursery, operating from her school premises. The panel revealed that Mrs. Lloyd-Jenkins failed to declare her business interest in the nursery and her close personal relationship with its manager, Michelle Howell.

The EWC panel heard that Cywion Cile nursery had been utilising the school’s “community room” from September 2015 onwards, and during the years 2015 to 2017, it was charged no rent. However, from 2017 to 2019, the nursery paid an “inappropriately low rent” of £500 per year. Shockingly, it was uncovered that Mrs. Lloyd-Jenkins and Miss Howell had agreed to share profits and losses from the nursery on a 50/50 basis, with both making a substantial profit of £10,717 each in 2017 alone.

Testimony during the proceedings indicated that Mrs. Lloyd-Jenkins had actively promoted the nursery to parents and the community while serving as headteacher. The nursery provided “wrap around care” from 8 am to 6 pm, accommodating 18 children aged two to eight for 39 weeks each year.

The investigation into Mrs. Lloyd-Jenkins’ involvement with the nursery was launched in 2019 after parents and school governors raised concerns. Consequently, she was suspended from her position, formally ceasing work at the school on 31st December 2020.

During the hearing, Mrs. Lloyd-Jenkins reportedly attempted to deflect responsibility, denying any connection to the nursery and rejecting all allegations against her. However, the EWC panel found her actions inexcusable, ruling that she was guilty of “unacceptable professional conduct.”

The panel stated that Mrs. Lloyd-Jenkins had an obligation to disclose her joint ownership of the nursery and its potential financial benefits to the school governors, which she failed to do. The governing body reportedly lacked a clear understanding of her involvement, and despite multiple opportunities, she neglected to make the required declaration.

The seriousness of the situation is emphasised by the fact that Mrs. Lloyd-Jenkins’ conduct was not only deemed dishonest but also lacking in integrity. As a result of her actions, the committee decided to strike her off the EWC teaching register, preventing her from applying for re-entry for a period of four years. She has the option to appeal this decision within 28 days to the High Court.

Sue Davies, the committee chair, highlighted the gravity of Mrs. Lloyd-Jenkins’ actions, characterising them as a “reckless disregard for her duties.” The headteacher’s breach of trust and responsibility, given her vast experience in the role, was deeply concerning.

The school’s governing body released a statement expressing their satisfaction with the EWC’s findings. They affirmed that Mrs. Lloyd-Jenkins had acted dishonestly over an extended period, causing significant repercussions for Ysgol Gymraeg Ffwrnes, its staff, and, most importantly, its students. The governing body thanked the school staff and all those involved in supporting the school during this difficult period.

In conclusion, this case serves as a stark reminder of the need for transparency and ethical conduct in the education sector. It underscores the importance of ensuring that educators uphold the highest standards of professionalism and integrity while fulfilling their duties to students, parents, and the wider school community.

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