Headteacher was convicted of burglary

PUBLISHED: 09:00 18 September 2009 | UPDATED: 08:32 01 August 2010

THE chairman of governors of a Halesworth school has moved quickly to quash rumours after it emerged that the headteacher was convicted of burglary earlier this year.

THE chairman of governors of a Halesworth school has moved quickly to quash rumours after it emerged that the headteacher was convicted of burglary earlier this year.

Peter Rodgers, headteacher at Edgar Sewter Primary School, was fined by Lowestoft magistrates for four offences that included stealing a box of washing powder from a shed.

At the court hearing in March, Mr Rodgers, 56, admitted burglary, theft and two counts of criminal damage.

Magistrates fined him £800 and ordered him to pay £679 in compensation and £15 in costs.

One parent of a pupil at Edgar Sewter, who did not wish to be named, said when she found out about the convictions her instant reaction was to withdraw her child from the school, adding: “That was my initial thought of what I wanted to do, but I'm not going to because my child is happy there.”

The woman said she had complained to Suffolk County Council that parents of pupils at the school had not been informed about the convictions at the time of the court case, adding: “That is what parents are cross about really - that nobody seemed to know about this. He has got a criminal record.”

The school's chairman of governors, Dr Jean Macheath, moved to quell further rumours that she said had been circulating by sending a letter to parents.

The letter states: “Staff and governors have been kept informed on 'a need to know' basis following all the correct procedures applicable to such matters.”

It goes on to say: “The magistrate hearing the case recommended that Mr Rodgers returned to his duties of serving children and community and continue the good work he has already done over the last 25 years. It was identified that Mr Rodgers' behaviours were fully out of character and medical support was provided.

“Since that time, and especially during the summer holidays, much false information regarding this matter has been circulated to people within the community.”

At the court hearing Mr Rodgers, from Henham, admitted the theft of washing powder and a quantity of wood and of causing criminal damage to a door on March 25 this year.

He also admitted entering an outbuilding to steal a bag of charcoal and a box of washing powder and causing damage to a door between March 1 and March 18.

A spokesman for Suffolk County Council, also speaking on behalf of Mr Rodgers, said: “It was deemed at the time inappropriate to inform parents and the wider community of this matter because the case has been reported to the General Teaching Council, who will make the decision regarding Mr Rodgers' future at the school. At the time of the offence, Mr Rodgers immediately contacted senior directors within the local authority and his chair of governors. All appropriate personnel were informed and all procedures were followed.”

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