Misconduct Case Studies
Sexual assaults – not proved
Our client was a young maths teacher accused of squatting next to pupils whilst teaching and using this opportunity to touch their upper legs. He had been sacked by the school at a disciplinary hearing where the pupils did not give evidence but the head had told the governors that she believed the pupil’s accounts.
At the TRA hearing the pupils gave evidence and were expertly cross-examined by Andrew. As a result, the panel agreed the touching was accidental and the allegations of sexual touching was not proved. Although the hearing took place in public, no press attended and there was no reporting. As the case concluded with no factual findings being made there has been no subsequent publication of the allegations or anything that identifies our client in relation to them. He has now resumed his teaching career.
Safeguarding failures – Unacceptable Professional Conduct but no prohibition
Our client was the Headteacher of a special school which closed with much publicity. He faced a multiplicity (in the hundreds) of allegations including failures to respond appropriately to reports of pupil-on-pupil sexual abuse. We robustly argued with the prosecutor to reduce the breadth of charges whilst at the same time helping our client to gain an understanding of the nature of his failures.
At the hearing he was able to demonstrate to the panel a great deal of insight into what had gone wrong during his tenure. He accepted that his failures amounted to Unacceptable Professional Conduct. As a result of this approach, the panel were persuaded that there was no need to prohibit him from teaching and the Secretary of State accepted their recommendation. He was free to resume his career.
SATS Cheating – but no prohibition
Our client was a primary head who in a “moment of madness” altered SATs papers before submitting them. The cheating was discovered and eventually she made admissions, but only at the point that another, entirely innocent member of staff, was about to face disciplinary action. Before the regulator she made full and frank admissions and with our help, compiled a great deal of evidence of her otherwise very successful career.
The Secretary of State was persuaded that it was not necessary to prohibit her because “she has shown genuine and heart-felt insight and I have noted the compelling support of her abilities as an exceptional headteacher and person of good character.” The case attracted no press interest.
“Self Harm Kit” provided to pupil – not Unacceptable Professional Conduct
Our client came up with an unusual but misguided approach to addressing attention seeking self-harm in a very troubled teen. The child would be allowed to self harm using a “self harm kit” assembled by the school. This was put into practice for one day before a member of staff told the Daily Mail, after which chaos reigned. Our client’s confidence was further undermined by a sustained online hate campaign conducted against her by a small portion of the parental body and she firmly believed her career was over.
We worked with her to rebuild her confidence as a professional and in due course persuaded the regulator to view the incident as a well meaning professional mistake and not Unacceptable Professional Conduct. The regulatory panel expressed the hope that our client would rebuild her professional life.