Banned for as­sault on ‘vul­ner­a­ble’ pupil

Teacher seen on CCTV ‘en­gaged in phys­i­cal strug­gle’ with child

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - NEWS - by KATY CLIFTON katy.clifton@trin­i­tymir­ Twit­ter: @Katy_Clifton1

A FORMER teacher has been banned from the pro­fes­sion af­ter she as­saulted a “par­tic­u­larly vul­ner­a­ble” pupil at a spe­cial school in Buck­ing­hamshire.

Sarah Cle­ments, 35, of Mar­low, taught at West­field School in Wooburn Green, a pri­mary school for young chil­dren with so­cial, emo­tional and men­tal health dif­fi­cul­ties.

A dis­ci­plinary panel was con­vened in April 2017 af­ter Cle­ments was ac­cused of as­sault­ing a young child at the school, whose catch­ment is in South Bucks and the Chilterns.

The panel, which had its find­ings pub­lished on May 12, heard Cle­ments grabbed a pupil around the arm and “en­gaged in a phys­i­cal strug­gle”.

The fol­low­ing day, Cle­ments grabbed the same pupil, pulled them to­wards her and forced them out­side the class­room.

Later that day, when the pupil com­plained of in­juries from the as­sault, Cle­ments said words to the ef­fect of “shut up, you de­serve them”.

The former teacher ad­mit­ted the al­le­ga­tions and was sus­pended from the school, she also re­ceived a po­lice cau­tion for the as­sault.

The vi­o­lence to­wards the child was caught on CCTV and the panel heard a state­ment from West­field School’s head­teacher about it.

Ac­cord­ing to the head­teacher, the footage showed the pupil telling Miss Cle­ments she had hurt him and the pupil “ap­peared to be vis­i­bly dis­tressed”.

The footage showed the pupil cry­ing af­ter the in­ci­dent.

The dis­ci­plinary panel found Cle­ments “tar­geted one pupil who was par­tic- ularly vul­ner­a­ble and young” and did not refer the in­ci­dent to her line man­ager.

The panel found she “failed to fol­low ex­ten­sive train­ing she had been given” and ap­peared to have “blamed oth­ers” for her ac­tions.

Alan Meyrick, who was tasked with mak­ing the de­ci­sion on be­half of the panel, de­cided Cle­ments should be pro­hib­ited from teach­ing in­def­i­nitely.

Fol­low­ing the de­ci­sion, she can­not teach in schools, sixth form col­leges, youth ac­com­mo­da­tion or chil­dren’s homes in Eng­land.

Mr Meyrick, on be­half of the sec­re­tary of state, said in the re­port: “The panel is of the view that pro­hi­bi­tion is both pro­por­tion­ate and ap­pro­pri­ate.

“Her un­war­ranted phys­i­cal as­sault to­wards a vul­ner­a­ble young child in her care, for which she re­ceived a po­lice cau­tion, was a sig­nif­i­cant fac­tor in form­ing that opin­ion.

“There is a strong public in­ter­est con­sid­er­a­tion in pro­tect­ing future pupils from un­war­ranted phys­i­cal in­ter­ven­tion that may lead to harm.

“Miss Cle­ments has shown very lit­tle in­sight into the se­ri­ous­ness of the al­le­ga­tions and po­ten­tial im­pact of her be­hav­iour upon [the pupil] and the school.”

The former teacher is cur­rently work­ing as a tu­tor, with sup­port­ing ref­er­ences, but the panel noted that it is from a dif­fer­ent con­text than class­room teach­ing.

Cle­ments has been given 28 days to ap­peal.

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