School heads spend £9,000 on luxury hotel course after their training centre is sold off

PUBLISHED: 19:00 08 October 2008 | UPDATED: 13:39 06 May 2010

JUST weeks after Herts County Council sold off their Education Development Centre at Wheathampstead for housing, schools have paid out £9,000 for 20 head teachers to go on a training course at a luxury hotel instead. The heads – all from special schools i

JUST weeks after Herts County Council sold off their Education Development Centre at Wheathampstead for housing, schools have paid out £9,000 for 20 head teachers to go on a training course at a luxury hotel instead.

The heads - all from special schools in Herts - attended the two-day conference held at the four-star Sir Christopher Wren House Hotel in Windsor which cost £450 each.

The cost was paid for out of each individual school's budget and included two days of conference workshops and presentations and an overnight stay at the hotel.

While staying at the prestigious former home of the famed architect Sir Christopher Wren, they could have availed themselves of champagne cocktails on the riverside terrace or enjoyed three-course meals with the finest wines. Afterwards they could have worked off the excesses with a session in the hotel's gym or enjoyed a pampering in the top-class spa.

A spokesperson for the county said: "The conference had a particular focus on the mental and emotional health of special school pupils with talks from specialist therapists and the director of the Children, Schools and Families service.

"Leading a special school is a challenging job and special school head teachers gain a great deal of support and information from each other at events of this kind."

She added that even if they had met at one of the council-owned conference centres they would still have had to pay as centres are all run as business units.

She said: "If the heads had attended our development centre in Stevenage they would have been charged £176 each per day but it was an intensive residential course so the hotel was booked."

However, as the development centre is county-owned the money would have stayed within the education budget.

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