Headmaster’s PA plundered £150,000 from London prep school

The Mail is reporting that a headmaster’s personal assistant stole more than £150,000 from an exclusive preparatory school by pressuring parents to pay fees directly into her bank account.

Valerie Barber, 56, of Ealing, West London, also wired herself cash which she ‘borrowed’ from the £18,500-a-year girls’ school over four years.

The missing money was discovered only during an audit at Pembridge Hall School in Notting Hill, which educates the children of models, designers and TV stars…

Martin Lewis, prosecuting, said: ‘During the entire period records show she prevailed upon parents to pay monies into her own bank account rather than the school bank account.

‘Money transferred from parents to her private account was essentially on a fairly regular basis – on average £1,000-£2,000 a time… This does involve a breach of trust, certainly over a lengthy period of time and repeated acts of dishonesty

‘There does appear to have been some contrivance to avoid detection by pressuring parents to pay money into that account.

‘It circumvented the school’s involvement and made it more difficult for the school to detect. She has also transferred money from the school’s bank account to her own…

Sentencing, Judge Robin Johnson told her: ‘Employers should be able to trust employees to act in an honest way, not for selfish gain.

‘It took a long time for your crime to be discovered, and I accept that no blame was cast on anybody else…

‘I consider I can avoid sending you to prison immediately by a whisker, but you come about as near to going to prison as you can.’

Barber pleaded guilty to one count of fraud by false representation. 


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