Headteacher of Aylesbury secondary school convicted of drink-driving

The headteacher of an Aylesbury secondary school has been convicted of drink-driving and is taking a 'period of leave' from their role.

The headteacher of The Mandeville School, Andria Hanham, who was 54 at the time of the offence, has been fined £950 and disqualified from driving for 22 months after admitting to drink-driving at Oxford Magistrates' Court on 22 October.

Mandeville School Headteacher, Andria Hanham

Mandeville School Headteacher, Andria Hanham

On Saturday 6 October, 2018, the teacher was found to have 88mcgs of alcohol in 100ml of breath - more than two and a half times the legal limit of 35mcgs. According to Government guidelines, this level of intoxication while driving could be categorised as 'high risk offender'.

Bucks County Council has informed us that as a consequence, Mrs Hanham will be taking 'a period of leave'.

Their statement reads: “In the light of recent events, Mrs Andria Hanham will be taking a period of leave from her duties as principal of Mandeville School.

“We hope and anticipate that Mrs Hanham will be returning to her post in due course, as soon as possible.

“In her absence, Mr Tony Rogerson, senior vice principal will be fulfilling the role of acting principal. This will enable all other work in school to continue as normal.

“The county council is aware of the situation and has been supporting the school to take appropriate actions. The county council will continue to provide support to the Acting Principal and his senior leadership team to ensure education is delivered without disruption.”

Mrs Hanham, who has been teaching for over 30 years, took over as principal at The Mandeville School in November 2015 during a particularly challenging time.

The secondary school had been judged as requiring 'special measures' in November 2013 by the Government's Office for Standards in Education (Ofsted), and although this was upgraded to 'requires improvement' at the time of Mrs Hanham's appointment, clearly, as the rating suggests, there was much work still to do.

At the time Andria Hanham said to this paper: "I knew when I took this job that there were some challenges because of the instability before. I came into this job with my eyes open and I want to give this my best shot to make it work."

Initially, reports were positive, with Ofsted remarking of the new principal's impact in May 2016: “You have taken firm control of the school.

“You are ably supported by your vice-principal who has an excellent understanding of the task facing the growing leadership team.

“You have already begun the process of improving teaching and made a big difference to pupils’ behaviour.

“This is remarkable since you only took up post days before the last inspection. You took on the leadership of a school that had suffered from instability for some time.”

However, the most recent inspection of January 2018 still judges the school as 'requires improvement', more than two years after Mrs Hanham became the school's principal, with the report particularly highlighting an inadequate sixth form study programme and persistent absenteeism.

We visited the school in November 2018 for their Remembrance commemoration service and were moved to comment on the good behaviour and discipline the principal appeared to have instilled in the students.

Mrs Hanham said: “I'm firm but fair - the children know my standards.”

This paper has written to Andria Hanham for a statement on recent events - but had not heard back at the time of going to print.

We also contacted The Mandeville School directly, who referred us back to the county council.