College head denies fraud

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The headteacher of a bankrupt sixth form college which went bust leaving some parents claiming they are owed nearly €30,000, has pledged to return their money.

The European Sixth Form College (ESFC) in Mijas Costa folded just before the start of the new academic year.

Its headteacher, Debbie Campbell, has issued an exclusive statement to EWN defending her actions and saying “under no circumstances has this situation arrived due to tax fraud or embezzlement.”

Ms Campbell has been accused of failing to send in the exam papers sat by GCSE and A-level students leaving some, it is claimed, with no results or grades and unable to take up university places in the UK and Spain.

The EWN has been told about 12 students who have been unable to present any A-level results.

But Ms Campbell has insisted the papers were sent off to UK-based examination boards although she admits they were dispatched late.

“The release of these results is pending investigation which I have facilitated willingly and co-operated fully,” she says.

In her statement Ms Campbell claims she has “had daily contact with the examination boards and many parents.

“It is my hope that all results are released to ensure that all students that have worked hard are rewarded for their success,” she said.

This situation came about, she admits, as a result of her negligence during a period of ill health and “attempting to carry on when I should have stepped down.” But she takes full responsibility as the “late” director of ESFC, she said.

The college’s financial health was undermined by a number of factors including the inability of some parents to pay the fees. 

“This is of course poor management; however I would like to say the ESFC was not about money but giving all the right to an education. This ethos has sadly let us all down in the end.”

 

“Deeply sad in my heart” 

“It is with great regret that the ESFC has been bought into such a negative light.

The examinations were sent late and were located in the premises secure and sealed. They are now with the relevant examination boards who have been supportive and organised. Their assistance has been in the best interest of the students and their future. 

The release of these results is pending investigation of which I have facilitated willingly and co-operated fully to all requirements.

 During this time I have had daily contact with the examination boards and many parents; therefore despite rumour I have not left. It is my hope that all results are released to ensure that all students that have worked so hard are rewarded their success.

I take full responsibility as the ‘late’ Director of ESFC for this negligence and would like to stress under no circumstances did I mean this to happen.

The staff at the ESFC are dedicated, loyal and motivated and despite recent events, I thank them all for their tenacity. 

They should not be tarnished by this situation and deserve a future with the new school that is currently underway. The Nova group have offered a positive opportunity for the ETHOS to continue which I wholeheartedly support.

Under no circumstances has this situation arrived due to tax fraud or embezzlement. The college has struggled financially for some time. This is largely due to the personal care we could offer as a small enterprise; however every gift has a curse. Reduced programmes, bursary posts and discounts meant that the college struggled to meet its expenses. 

The parents’ genuine difficulties with finance led to our genuine position of debt. The ESFC was a unique college that tailored programmes for students and parents, meeting and exceeding their needs. 

This of course is poor management; however I would like to say the ESFC was not about money but giving all the right to an education. 

This ethos has sadly let us all down in the end. Although you now all feel deeply disappointed and disillusioned as to who you believe I am, please stop and think about how much support, energy, love, care and hours have been given over your time spent with ESFC and try to not tarnish that memory with what is now.

Provisions have been made for advance payments to be returned. It is my hope that examination results paid for are released. Sadly the ESFC has closed due to insolvency.

Most of you will ask why and how did this examination situation happen or seek answers or revenge.  

I take full responsibility for my decline and negligence due to serious ill health and attempting to carry on when I should have stepped down. 

I publicly apologise to all that have suffered and hope resolution of results will give a more positive outlook.

It is inexcusable and I can assure you that the stress caused to students and parents and the loss of my business, life, reputation, friends and home will forever remain deeply sad in my heart.”

Debbie Campbell

 

 

3 COMMENTS

  1. I was fortunate enough to be taught by Miss Campbell during my A Levels and whilst I may be biased I can say with 100% confidence that she is not a fraudster by any stretch of the imagination. I fully appreciate the heartbreak of those students who have potentially lost out and also the anger of the frustrated parents but lets all just take a minute and stand back to look at the reasons behind all this; just as when I was studying there, parents were given huge flexibility by Miss Campbell as most of them were unable to make the monthly payments. ANYWHERE else this would not be tolerated and whilst i fully understand that it is very poor management on her behalf I do not for one second think she deserves to be treated like a common criminal. No it may not be this years intake of students that received discounts or fees waved altogether but because of Miss Campbell’s sheer devotion to education and all children in her care, the past has indeed caught up with her and unfortunately had a detrimental effect on current students. She is loyal and kind and puts everyone else before her own needs and THAT is why this has happened, not because she is moonlighting as a criminal mastermind. I am shocked at peoples attitude and whilst i wholeheartedly hope that the students get their grades, her name should not be dragged through the mud in doing so.

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