Teacher banned for pupil assault

A TEACHER has been banned from the classroom after she assaulted a pupil —and encouraged another boy to hit the same child.

Christine Frances Foulds has been barred from teaching indefinitely after the incident at Woodbank Primary School in Bury on January 28 last year while employed as a supply teacher.

A Teaching Agency disciplinary panel heard allegations that Ms Foulds had placed her hands around the neck of the child, referred to as pupil A, encouraged another boy, pupil B, to physically assault pupil A, and that she did not prevent or reprimand pupil B when he hit pupil A.

At the time, she had been working as a supply teacher at the school for four days.

Secretary of State for Education, Michael Gove, issued a Prohibition Order preventing her from teaching after she was found guilty of “unacceptable professional conduct” by the disciplinary panel.

The panel heard: “There was no need for her to have had any physical contact with pupil A, whether that was to place her hands around his neck or, according to Ms Foulds’ own account , on his shoulders.

“Furthermore, it was clear that Ms Foulds had been unable to manage the children’s behaviour because she had allowed and even encouraged them to hit each other and had not taken any preventative or disciplinary steps to stop any physical violence.”

The panel found the allegations, which took place in a Year 6 class, proven and found her guilty of unacceptable professional conduct.

The panel concluded: “Having heard evidence concerning the reaction of pupils and parents, we find that Ms Foulds assaulted Pupil A on at least one occasion. In reaching that conclusion we have also considered the account given by Ms Foulds during the subsequent investigation in which she accepted that she had made physical contact with Pupil A.

“We further find that Ms Foulds encouraged Pupil B to hit Pupil A and did not reprimand him when he did so as alleged. We have reached those conclusions on the basis of the accounts given by Pupils A, B and C which were broadly consistent and corroborated by the accounts of other pupils. We have also considered the records of interviews with the pupils, which we found to be both credible and convincing.”

The Secretary of State said he agreed with the panel’s decision and stated: “Ms Foulds has failed to meet the high standards of behaviour expected of her in her capacity as a teacher. She has failed to observe professional boundaries and failed in her duty to safeguard pupil’s well-being.

“There are no previous adverse findings in respect of Ms Foulds’ work as a teacher. However, she has failed to engage with this disciplinary process and has provided no explanations, nor has she shown any insight into her behaviour.”

Ms Foulds is prohibited from teaching in any school, sixth form college, relevant youth accommodation or children’s home in England. She may apply for the Prohibition Order to be set aside at the earliest date of November 4, 2014, when she would have to persuade a panel that she is fit to teach.

A Bury Council spokesman said: “This teacher was not employed by the local education authority or the school.

“As a supply teacher, she was taken on directly by Woodbank Primary School from a supply agency and only worked for one week at the school.

“Her employment and training was the responsibility of the agency.

“We understand that the school received a number of complaints about her behaviour in class one day and acted immediately and properly to investigate these complaints and report her actions.

“The supply teacher did not continue working at Woodbank after that day.”

John Wood, who was headteacher at the school off Brandlesholme Road at the time of the incident, gave evidence at the disciplinary hearing. Ms Foulds, whose address was not given out, did not attend.

The police did not pursue the matter.

A spokesman for Ranstad, the agency which employed Ms Foulds, said: “The safety of every child in every classroom is of utmost importance to Ranstad Education and, as such, we support the prohibition order.

“As the panel highlighted, there was no prior evidence of Ms Fould’s conduct having been adverse in the past and, indeed, Ms Foulds came to us with excellent references.

“We additionally ensured she was checked to the rigorous Department for Education ‘quality mark’ standard prior to being sent out into the classroom.

“When the initial concerns came to light, we worked with the school and the local authority to investigate the complaints made.

“As a result of that investigation, we immediately suspended working with Ms Foulds and referred our decision not to use her services to the General Teaching Council.”

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