Parents start petition in support of expenses scandal headteacher (From East London and West Essex Guardian Series)
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Parents of children at King Solomon High School start petition in support of Jo Shuter, who has admitted misconduct in a previous job
Parents have rallied behind a headteacher who faces losing her job after admitting expenses abuses.
Jo Shuter, who is currently running King Solomon High School in Forest Road, Barkingside, admitted unacceptable professional conduct in a previous job during a National College for Teaching and Leadership hearing last week.
She took over at the free school in September 2013, but faces being banned from teaching unsupervised for life.
Now a group of parents have started a petition today in an attempt to keep her at the school, which Ofsted has said requires improvement.
The petition states: "We've all heard the allegations, we all have opinions, and we can only work on fact.
"Whilst no one can condone inappropriate actions, we below would like Ms Jo Shuter to remain as head of King Solomon High School to continue being the driving force of our amazing school.
"We believe in her, we support her, and we trust she will do the best for our children, our school and our community."
The son of Nick Titch, 44, from Chigwell, is headboy in Year 13 at the school.
He believes Ms Shuter's misconduct is not as serious as it appears.
He said: "In the grand scheme of things what she has done is not that serious.
"We are devastated she could leave as she turned the school around and looks set to be rated good at the next Ofsted inspection.
"My son was disillusioned and was going to leave the school but Jo is an inspirational leader, and he says she was the best thing that happened to this school.
"Her leaving would be the worst thing."
Fran Barnes, 48, from Hainault, has a daughter in Year 11.
She praised the discipline Shuter has instilled in the school since taking over.
Ms Barnes said: "Many parents want her to stay. This school has come a long way since she took over in September.
"Jo introduced small disciplinary measures such as banning mobile phones, which has really improved the school.
"I understand the implications of what she did and I do not condone it, but I simply believe she is the right person for the job and for our children.
Ms Shuter had resigned last year from Kynaston Community Academy in St John's Wood after the abuses emerged.
The hearing last week was brought after a government report found Jo Shuter had presided over the misuse of public funds, including claiming £7,000 for her birthday party.
She admitted unacceptable professional conduct and a decision is due on her future.
She was named headteacher of the year in 2007 for turning Kynaston Community Academy around and awarded a CBE in 2010.
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