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Pressure mounting on school nearly £1m in red

PUBLISHED: 09:54 17 March 2010 | UPDATED: 11:40 08 July 2010

Rob Garratt

PRESSURE is mounting on education chiefs to decide the fate of a Norfolk school which has fallen into nearly £1m worth of debt while keeping its suspended head teacher on full pay for nearly a year.

PRESSURE is mounting on education chiefs to decide the fate of a Norfolk school which has fallen into nearly £1m worth of debt while keeping its suspended head teacher on full pay for nearly a year.

Headteacher Yvonne Srodzinski was suspended from Hamond's High School in Swaffham last April after it emerged the school was deep into the red, prompting an investigation by Norfolk County Council.

But 11 months after experts went into Hamond's and found £100,000 in unpaid bills lying on a desk, County Hall's internal investigation continues and Ms Srodzinski remains on full pay, while interim head teacher Stuart Bailey has not been given a full time post.

And this week it emerged the school's debts have spiralled further, currently standing at £963,000; more than £130,000 above the previously reported overspend at the end of the last school year.

A question mark looms over when the investigation will be concluded, however while Mr Bailey has not been named as a permanent leader, a replacement has been found for his previous post as head at Attleborough High School.

Steven Reilly, spokesman for Norfolk County Council, said: “Our investigation, around management issues, is still ongoing. Yvonne Srodzinski is still suspended, pending the outcome of the investigation.”

Anger broke in January out after it emerged the overspend at Hamond's, as well as a similar deficit of more than £700,000 at Oriel High in Gorleston, would leave a £500,000 hole in the funding pot for hundreds of other Norfolk schools.

Ms Srodzinski lead Hamond's for more than six years, and oversaw a £10m redevelopment of the 700-pupil school in her final days. The Norfolk NUT chose not to comment on the school's situation.

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