A private school principal investigated by police for an alleged assault on his wife has been appointed to head an eminent school in England.

Peter Clague will leave his $385,000-a-year job as Kristin School executive principal to take up the role of headmaster at the 500-year-old Bromsgrove School in Worcestershire, England.

Police issued a warning to Clague after his estranged wife, Jeanne Jackman, filed a historical assault complaint amid a divorce battle last year.

North Shore police area commander Les Paterson told the Herald on Sunday last year police could only issue a warning because the alleged assault had occurred more than two years earlier - too late to prosecute.


In an affidavit filed with the High Court at Auckland in a failed bid to stop the paper publishing details of the investigation, Clague said the couple had argued in the driveway of their home and Jackman became "hysterical". They had fallen backwards when he stumbled after putting his hands on her shoulders, trying to calm her.

Jackman said she was pushed.

The next day, Jackman had gone to a doctor and said she had fallen down stairs. She did not mention the confrontation with her husband.

The doctor found she had suffered severe bruising and an x-ray confirmed she had injured her tailbone.

At the time, Clague said the allegations had caused physical and mental health issues such as chest pains, ulcers and sleepless nights.

Speaking to the Herald on Sunday this weekend, Clague said he was sad to be leaving Kristin School after 14 years but was excited about his new role, describing it as an adventure.

Bromsgrove boasts more than 1500 pupils aged 2 to 18. Fees per term range from 4725 ($9400) for a day student to 8990 ($17,700) for a boarder.

In a letter to parents, Kristin School board chairman Philippa Fee said Clague had been "pivotal in establishing a positive and happy culture within the school".