Conduct committee suspends teacher

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THE deputy head-mistress at a primary school in Stowmarket has been suspended for six months for using ‘inappropriate force’ to restrain a pupil.

The General Teaching Council’s Professional Conduct Committee found Eileen Ellis guilty of ‘unacceptable professional conduct’ at Chilton Community Primary Foundation School on April 11, 2008.

The committee found that Ms Ellis jeopardised a pupil’s safety and well-being by using inappropriate force when pulling a pupil by the wrist, encouraging a colleague to use inappropriate force, and restraining the pupil at the top of a flight of stairs.

The committee’s findings said: “Ms Ellis’s conduct falls short of the standard expected of a registered teacher and it amounts to unacceptable professional conduct.”

It said that she acted in contravention to the school’s risk assessment and behaviour support plan in reference to the pupil – referred to as pupil A.

The pupil’s assessment stated that restraint, shouting, confrontation and any sudden or unnecessary changes should be avoided.

The committee did find that Ms Ellis tried persuading the pupil by talking to him first but that she did not use all other strategies before physical intervention.

It added that she breached the Code of Conduct and Practice by failing to put the wellbeing, development and progress of children first and to take all steps to ensure their safety and wellbeing.

The committee had taken into account that Ms Ellis was of previous good character and that the incident took place when she had recently returned from sick leave and had to stand in for the head teacher who was away from school along with the special education needs co-ordinator.

The committee findings said: “She felt she needed to make a swift decision about how to act. She was not provided with updated risk assessments, but knew that they existed and failed to ask for them.”