Teacher banned for stealing from primary school funds

Cobblers Lane School
Cobblers Lane School

A teacher has been banned from the profession for stealing more than £2,000 from Cobblers Lane Primary School in Pontefract.

A misconduct panel found that Lisa Potgieter exploited her position as treasurer to take £2,057 from Parent Teacher Association (PTA) funds between March 28, 2013 and February 14, 2014.

In July 2014, Ms Potgieter, 51, was convicted of theft at Wakefield Magistrates’ Court, where she was given a two-year conditional discharge and ordered to repay the money.

Now she has been handed an indefinite teaching ban by the The National College of Teaching and Leadership (NCTL), which found her guilty of “unacceptable professional conduct” after a hearing in Coventry.

In a written judgement, the panel said Ms Potgieter clearly admitted stealing from the school in a police interview.

The judgement said: “In this case, the findings of misconduct are serious and the conduct displayed would likely have a negative impact on the individual’s status as a teacher, potentially damaging the public perception.

“The panel therefore finds that Ms Potgieter’s actions constitute conduct that may bring the profession into disrepute.”

The panel decided that a prohibition order should be imposed with immediate effect on behalf of the Secretary of State for Education.

The judgment said: “Ms Potgieter has been responsible for stealing a significant amount of money from PTA funds, exploiting her position as treasurer.”

Ms Potgieter, who did not attend the hearing, was prohibited from teaching indefinitely and cannot teach at any school, sixth form college, relevant youth accommodation or children’s home in England.

But the panel decided that she could apply to have the prohibition order lifted after five years because of her early guilty plea, the lack of any harm to pupils and expressions of remorse in the police interview.

She also has the right to seek to appeal against the order to the High Court within 28 days.