Sacked academy headteacher must pay compensation after fiddling his expenses
A HEADTEACHER sacked from a flagship academy school after fiddling his expenses has been ordered by a judge to pay £4,000 in compensation.
Mark Shere was also sentenced to 240 hours of unpaid community work yesterday after pleading guilty to six charges of false accounting.
Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court heard the 48-year-old, pictured, had been appointed as principal designate of St Peter's Academy, which was due to replace St Peter's CE High, in Penkhull, and Berry Hill High.
As he lived in Exeter, he was entitled to claim up to £10,000 in relocation and accommodation costs from the Government and the academy sponsors.
But Paul Spratt, prosecuting, said between November 2010 and May 2011, Shere forged a series of invoices to make it look like he had been staying at Verdon Guest House in Hanley.
In fact, he had only been at the B&B for a matter of days and had helped himself to headed notepaper from a drawer in the bedroom at the guest house and used it to make fake invoices.
But these 'invoices' showed the wrong VAT number and suspicions were raised after he submitted the expenses claims. It emerged he had been renting much cheaper accommodation in Cheadle and was pocketing the difference. The forged receipts came to a total of £5,400.
Shere was suspended from his job in May 2011 and later dismissed. It left plans for the academy in turmoil and the school went on to open that September with an acting head.
Peter McCartney, mitigating, told the court yesterday that Shere's high-flying career was now in tatters and he would never be able to teach again.
He said: "This has been an enormous fall from grace for him. The shame which he feels is heavily felt. It will undoubtedly blight his life."
Shere, of Ryden Lane, Exeter, was given a 12-month community order and ordered to pay the compensation.
This money will be split between the Department for Education and the school's sponsors, Woodard Academies Trust and the Diocese of Lichfield.
Judge Robert Trevor-Jones told the father-of-three that he had acted in a "cavalier" and "dishonest" fashion and had breached the trust placed in him.
He added: "You have suffered the utmost shame and justifiably so."