Teacher's 'inappropriate discipline'

KATIE KENNY
Last updated 17:21 13/06/2013

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A primary school teacher is still working despite being found to have physically and verbally abused "very young children".

For more than five years the woman, whose name and location are suppressed, repeatedly harassed pupils, a disciplinary investigation has found.

The Teachers Council's complaints assessment committee last year pressed charges against her.

The Teachers Disciplinary Tribunal found, in its decision published today, that she "behaved in an unprofessional manner amounting to serious misconduct" between 2006 and June 2011.

The teacher was accused of pinching, slapping, manhandling and shouting at "very young children".

Charges alleged she "spoke to [pupils] inappropriately", repeatedly "manhandled" children, "inappropriately" touched a young girl, "used a ruler to get [a pupil] to focus on his work" and spoke aggressively to children.

Combined with other allegations, this amounted to "serious misconduct".

From 2005, the school received six complaints from parents, "all of which involved allegation of inappropriate discipline".

The school's principal in 2011 told the council that the complaints had led to a disciplinary process, and the teacher resigned before it was complete.

The principal attributed the teacher's misbehaviour to "domestic problems" and said the school had ensured she attended professional development sessions.

The teacher denied all allegations and, convinced of her "sincere wish to change, and her suitability as a relieving teacher", the school was "happy" to re-employ her.

One of the incidents took place after her re-employment, the decision noted.

The tribunal found the teacher's behaviour to be "in flagrant breach of the Education Act 1989".

However, it found that it was "not obliged to order [the teacher's] deregistration", given the views of the school's principal.

It instead "censured" the teacher, required her to attend anger management and classroom management courses, and to cover half of the complainant's costs.

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