Head teacher 'sad' after being cleared of any wrongdoing

Warrington Guardian: Geoff Bowles - no case to answer Geoff Bowles - no case to answer

A HEAD teacher who was suspended for five months before being told he had no case to answer says he feels sad with the way the matter has been handled.

Geoff Bowles, who was at the helm of Barrowhall Primary School in Great Sankey since 1993, was cleared of any wrongdoing at a hearing before Christmas.

He had been suspended, on full pay, in July by chairman of the governors Cathy Brocklehurst and has now been able to start his retirement.

But the manner of the suspension - which has cost the school £25,000 at least in wages - has left Mr Bowles, aged 60, feeling let down.

He was accused of financial mismanagement by an anonymous whistleblower. All the allegations were thrown out at December’s disciplinary hearing.

He added: “I was convinced that I had not done anything wrong.

“But they were paying me for five months to sit around doing nothing when the decision could have been made earlier.”

He was banned from entering school while suspended, it is understood even teachers were kept in the dark about his absence, and missed out on saying goodbye to parents and the children. Although he was allowed in the school on the last day of term to take his belongings - which has already been boxed up.

“If ever a school was made for someone, that school was made for me.

“It was brilliant to say goodbye to the children and the staff were absolutely great. They have paid for a leaving do for me which means a lot.

“When you work at a school like that and for so long, you become part of the community. And my reputation is more important than anything else to me.”

Mr Bowles, from St Helens, will now begin his retirement and despite the recent problems - he resigned from the governing body in May - he hopes the school continues to grow.

He said: “I wish the new head every success. He is a lucky guy because despite everything that has happened, it is a lovely school and it has given me a lot of fun.”

Comments (6)

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6:17pm Thu 17 Jan 13

old-codger says...

Cathy Brocklehurst and the anonymous whistleblower have a lot to answer for, An audit would have taken a few days and Geoff Bowles could have carried on in the job he loved. I wont mention tax payers money being wasted because he deserves paying for the ill treatment he has recieved.

Good luck and a very happy retirement Geoff..
Cathy Brocklehurst and the anonymous whistleblower have a lot to answer for, An audit would have taken a few days and Geoff Bowles could have carried on in the job he loved. I wont mention tax payers money being wasted because he deserves paying for the ill treatment he has recieved. Good luck and a very happy retirement Geoff.. old-codger
  • Score: 0

10:10pm Thu 17 Jan 13

smallscousefox says...

Whatever happened to 'innocent until proven guilty'????
Shame on those responsible for the appalling way this nice man has been treated.
What a horrible end to his career.
Mr Bowles did a sterling job at the school +deserved better.
Hope he can put this behind him and have a very happy retirement!
Whatever happened to 'innocent until proven guilty'???? Shame on those responsible for the appalling way this nice man has been treated. What a horrible end to his career. Mr Bowles did a sterling job at the school +deserved better. Hope he can put this behind him and have a very happy retirement! smallscousefox
  • Score: 0

4:23pm Fri 18 Jan 13

Laboursupporteraswas says...

I've known Geoff Bowles for many years and I know he has done a fantastic job at his school. It would be impossible to calculate the amount of time and effort he has put into his time there. What a tragedy that he has retired under such circumstances. Someone needs to investigate why this has taken so long to resolve and put some better system into place to ensure much speedier investigations.
As for the whistleblower shame on her/him. The education department should take every step to find out who the whistleblower is and what connections (if any) she/he may have with the school and/or Governing Body. People may be forgiven for smelling some form of conspiracy here and hopefully someone will be able to get enough information to "out" those responsible for such despicable behaviour.
Enjoy your retirement, Geoff. Hopefully you will be able to wash out the bad taste from your mouth sometime soon.
I've known Geoff Bowles for many years and I know he has done a fantastic job at his school. It would be impossible to calculate the amount of time and effort he has put into his time there. What a tragedy that he has retired under such circumstances. Someone needs to investigate why this has taken so long to resolve and put some better system into place to ensure much speedier investigations. As for the whistleblower shame on her/him. The education department should take every step to find out who the whistleblower is and what connections (if any) she/he may have with the school and/or Governing Body. People may be forgiven for smelling some form of conspiracy here and hopefully someone will be able to get enough information to "out" those responsible for such despicable behaviour. Enjoy your retirement, Geoff. Hopefully you will be able to wash out the bad taste from your mouth sometime soon. Laboursupporteraswas
  • Score: 0

3:42pm Sat 19 Jan 13

Gripper_S says...

I have every sympathy for Mr Bowles.

Headteachers are at the mercy of malicious accusations, and as a result are often suspended without question. On full pay or not, no one can escape the nasty taste which this sort of event causes. The current system suits no one; governing bodies can decide their own procedures and timescales and I would urge any member of a school governing body to scrutinise their local procedures at the earliest opportunity. The massive disruption which can be caused to a school's good name, and efficient and effective running, all on the 'nod and a wink' of someone with either a grudge or only a slender grasp of the facts, should be recognised- not to mention the disastrous effects on individuals which can follow, as evidenced by this story.

I wish Mr. Bowles a long and happy retirement.
I have every sympathy for Mr Bowles. Headteachers are at the mercy of malicious accusations, and as a result are often suspended without question. On full pay or not, no one can escape the nasty taste which this sort of event causes. The current system suits no one; governing bodies can decide their own procedures and timescales and I would urge any member of a school governing body to scrutinise their local procedures at the earliest opportunity. The massive disruption which can be caused to a school's good name, and efficient and effective running, all on the 'nod and a wink' of someone with either a grudge or only a slender grasp of the facts, should be recognised- not to mention the disastrous effects on individuals which can follow, as evidenced by this story. I wish Mr. Bowles a long and happy retirement. Gripper_S
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4:45pm Tue 22 Jan 13

WollyHat says...

I don't think the whole story has been told. The governing body aren't fully responsible for this, they have policy's to follow. Old-codger you are very wrong to put blame on Cathy Brocklehurst. Unless you were involved you have no idea what went on! It is a shame it ended like that but things weren't as rosy as being made out.
I don't think the whole story has been told. The governing body aren't fully responsible for this, they have policy's to follow. Old-codger you are very wrong to put blame on Cathy Brocklehurst. Unless you were involved you have no idea what went on! It is a shame it ended like that but things weren't as rosy as being made out. WollyHat
  • Score: 0

1:34pm Thu 24 Jan 13

sprinterman says...

I agree with WollyHat, the whole story has definitely not been told. The article from mr bowles is his chance to get back at education and governors for their actions. I don't believe it to be the truth. The council would not allow one individual to act maliciously or as a conspiracy. The normal procedure is suspended whilst an investigation takes place as a neutral act.
As the allegation was financial mismanagement an investigation cannot place place with the person still at work, it is normal they are removed from premises. No doubt as old-codger states an audit of finances took place which would help with the decision of suspension. No action could surely have happend based on nod and wink as Gripper S says.
It is sad that a career ends like that but if money was being taken/used inappropriately that could be used on our children then the right action was taken. I hope the outcome of no case to answer was evidence based and not a sympathy vote as he retired.
We can only hope the school moves on with their new head in place.
I agree with WollyHat, the whole story has definitely not been told. The article from mr bowles is his chance to get back at education and governors for their actions. I don't believe it to be the truth. The council would not allow one individual to act maliciously or as a conspiracy. The normal procedure is suspended whilst an investigation takes place as a neutral act. As the allegation was financial mismanagement an investigation cannot place place with the person still at work, it is normal they are removed from premises. No doubt as old-codger states an audit of finances took place which would help with the decision of suspension. No action could surely have happend based on nod and wink as Gripper S says. It is sad that a career ends like that but if money was being taken/used inappropriately that could be used on our children then the right action was taken. I hope the outcome of no case to answer was evidence based and not a sympathy vote as he retired. We can only hope the school moves on with their new head in place. sprinterman
  • Score: 0

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