‘A change of leader will best serve the school’ – shocked parents told head to exit Hitchin school

The head of Kingshott School in Hitchin is leaving.

The head of Kingshott School in Hitchin is leaving. - Credit: Archant

The headteacher of a private school on the outskirts of Hitchin which fell prey to a £240,000 fraud is set to leave at the end of term, parents were told this week.

Iain Gilmour has spent eight years in charge of Kingshott preparatory school, but it was announced on Monday he will be moving on from the independent prep school at the end of the month.

The school informed parents of Mr Gilmour’s sudden departure in a letter which said: “We believe it is important governors and the headmaster should share the same priorities for the school and be united in our outlook.

“After careful consideration and by mutual agreement, the head and the governors have decided at this stage in the school’s development a change of leader will best serve the school.”

The school in Stevenage Road hit the headlines in December after it fell prey to fraudsters pretending to represent a Hitchin building company who had been working at the site.

The tricksters mocked up a fake letterhead and got in touch with the school to ‘inform them of a change in banking details’.

That led to the school processing a payment of £240,000.

Most Read

In a further development, a parent has told the Comet he took his two children out of the school after reporting allegations of an assault against one of them to police.

The father, who asked to remain anonymous, said: “I removed my children from the school after losing all faith in the leadership team and, in particular, after a serious incident, and after I felt the safety of my child was improperly dealt with by the governors.”

The parent has lodged a professional standards complaint with police over the way his initial grievance was handled – specifically the Herts force’s failure to investigate his allegations of assault on his child.

A police spokesman confirmed: “A complaint has been lodged in relation to this matter and further enquiries will be undertaken.

“Given a complaint has been made, it would be inappropriate for us to comment further at this stage.”

A spokeswoman for the school added: “The welfare of the children in our care is the school’s overriding priority.

“Any concern is treated with the utmost seriousness in line with our established procedures and referred to the relevant authorities.

“In recent years there has been no case these authorities have decided required further action.”

Although Mr Gilmour is stepping down, his wife Caroline will continue to be part of the school’s senior leadership team.

Current deputy head Colin Mannall will become acting head, supported by Julie Eldridge – former head of Bedford High School.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter