Headteachers are seen as easy prey

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WHILST staying at my sister’s on Saturday, I read with interest your article about the laptop lease (Our lives are in a state of turmoil, April 5).

Over the years the Government has delegated powers of expenditure to schools. In 2003 it designed the role of school business manager (as well as the qualifications for the role) which was meant to ensure that schools had the qualified staff to deal with the management of the business side of schools.

Unfortunately, schools do not have to use qualified staff for this role and headteachers take these decisions for themselves.

Heads are qualified in teaching and not business experts and are seen as easy prey for unscrupulous salesmen.

As a school business manager, it was my duty to ensure that any agreement made was above board with no hidden extras.

Nationally there are many schools that have been tricked into signing contracts that are way above the standard fee for equipment - this is particularly so for photocopiers. I don’t think there is a borough/council that has not faced this problem.

If the authorities are looking into the situation further then I feel sure that there is more than first appears.

Incidentally I feel it is improper for a headteacher or senior member of staff to employ their relatives in the school and would always advise against it.

ZENA SMART

Salary Close

Colchester