Headteacher leaves Derbyshire boarding school over ‘administrative and financial irregularities’

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A headteacher at a Derbyshire boarding school has left due to ‘administrative and financial irregularities’.

S. Anselm’s Preparatory School, on Stanedge Road in Bakewell, sent a letter to parents to say headteacher Peter Phillips has had his employment with the school terminated with immediate effect.

A previous letter to parents, dated January 7, stated that Mr Phillips, who has been headteacher at the school since 2012, had announced he was stepping down at the end of the summer term because he was seeking an ‘exciting new challenge’.

But in a new letter to parents, Richard Bowker, chair of governors, said that following the announcement that Mr Phillips would be leaving at the end of the summer term, a number of matters were brought to the attention of the governors ‘that suggested various administrative and financial irregularities had previously taken place at the school’.

After a month-long investigation into those matters, Mr Bowker, wrote: “I am saddened to have to say that as a result of those investigations, the decision has been taken to terminate Peter Phillips’ employment with the school with immediate effect and an agreement is in place to reimburse the school.”

We contacted Mr Bowker and he said that Mr Phillips was not sacked and left by mutual consent on agreed terms. He said: “Those terms include repayment of a sum of money to the school, almost all of which is a loan that was duly declared in the school’s accounts last year and therefore a matter of public record. As far as we are concerned, the matter is now closed and no third parties are involved.”

The letter also says that Sarah Phillips has left the school, although it states that there is ‘absolutely no suggestion whatsoever that she is connected to the aforementioned administrative and financial irregularities’.

The school has around 238 pupils aged from three to 16. It charges £8,700 per term for boarders in years three to eight, or £45 a night for ‘flexi boarders’.

Since the announcement, Lisa Donnelly has been appointed acting headteacher.