Headteacher banned from driving
A HEADTEACHER of one of Suffolk's top private schools is banned from the road today after being caught speeding four times in two years.Despite a last-ditch attempt to retain his licence, Ipswich magistrates disqualified Andrew Auster, head of Orwell Park School, Nacton, for six months.
A HEADTEACHER of one of Suffolk's top private schools is banned from the road today after being caught speeding four times in two years.
Despite a last-ditch attempt to retain his licence, Ipswich magistrates disqualified Andrew Auster, head of Orwell Park School, Nacton, for six months.
The court heard the 54-year-old head of the 350-pupil school was caught by a hand held speed camera doing 39mph in a 30mph zone on the A137 at Tattingstone. It happened just four months after his third speeding offence.
Auster and his wife were driving to Manningtree station to catch a train to London when the incident happened just after 10.05am on July 8 last year.
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His solicitor Timothy Ridyard said Auster pleaded guilty, but made a plea to the court not to ban him because it would cause problems for his £15,000-a-year preparatory school.
Magistrates heard Auster had nine points on his driving licence after being caught speeding in April 2002, May, 2003 and March 2004. But Mr Ridyard said none of the offences were at the higher end of the speeding scale.
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He told the court: "If a six-month ban were put in place today it would cause him enormous disruption. There will be disruption to his employment of a significant kind and huge disruption as far as his students are concerned whose welfare and education needs are of paramount importance."
In a bid to prevent a ban Auster said that losing his licence would mean he would be unable to take sports and music teams around the country in the school minibus.
In addition Orwell Park is a feeder school for others such as Eton and Harrow when its pupils, aged three to 13, move on. The court heard Auster frequently travelled to different schools on business in his role of headmaster and what is effectively Orwell Park's marketing director. He also said as he lived at the school and was in charge of pastoral care for his pupils, of which 140 are boarders, there were occasions where he had been required to take children and a member of his 30-strong teaching staff to hospital.
Auster, who was supported in court by his wife, apologised for breaking the speed limit for a fourth time and said: "I'm sorry to be in a situation to take up the court's time. It's carelessness that I should have been caught by a camera going above the speed limit. I was trying to drive with due care and attention."
Despite Auster's plea the magistrates decided a ban would not mean serious hardship to the school as eight other members of staff could drive the school minibuses.
Auster was given three points on his licence, a six-month disqualification from driving and fined £60. He was also ordered to pay £35 costs.
After the hearing Auster said his speeding offence was "very regrettable". He added: "It's hugely disappointing. I am just sorry to be in the position I am and to have taken up the court's time. I will try and do all I can to continue to do the best in my role at the school."