A teacher who got drunk at a Year 11 leavers' prom and exposed her breasts in front of students has been banned from the profession.
Katherine Lake, 44, who was head of PE at Reepham High School and College, Norfolk, was found guilty of unacceptable professional conduct by a panel of the Teaching Regulation Agency.
On 26 June 2019 at the Year 11 leavers' prom, Ms Lake was found to be "inappropriately inebriated". She admitted to drinking between half and three-quarters of a bottle of wine before she arrived at the Prom and then consuming four more glasses of wine after her arrival.
Teacher exposed breasts in group photo
Ms Lake exposed her breasts in a group photograph with students, and admitted smoking a cigarette with a student outside the venue.
On 9 September 2019, Ms Lake attended a disciplinary meeting regarding her actions. She could not remember the events that had taken place but she did accept them.
The panel found that Ms Lake had breached the Teachers' Standards in failing to "uphold public trust in the profession and maintain high standards of ethics and behaviour, within and outside school" by "treating pupils with dignity, building relationships rooted in mutual respect, and at all times observing proper boundaries appropriate to a teacher’s professional position".
The panel noted that this had occurred outside of an educational setting and that Ms Lake was not "on duty" at the prom. However, it concluded that there was an expectation of professional conduct at a school event, and that students at the prom may not have realised Ms Lake was not "on duty".
There was evidence that Ms Lake's conduct was out of character, as she previously held a "long and good" record as a teacher. She had worked at the school since 2008 and held the position as head of PE.
However, the panel noted that up-to-date references or character attestations had not been provided.
Ms Lake also accepted "full responsibility for her actions and [understood] the seriousness of her actions, for which she has communicated her remorse from the outset of this matter. She has therefore demonstrated insight into her conduct", the panel found.
Acting on behalf of the secretary of state, Sarah Buxcey imposed a two-year ban. Ms Lake can apply for this to be lifted after 11 November 2022.
Ms Buxcey noted the panel's comments that “Ms Lake indicated that she had sought help and she had stated that she would not drink at school events again".
She added: "However, the panel noted that no evidence had been provided regarding the help Mrs Lake had sought.
"In my judgement, there is some risk of the repetition of this behaviour and I have therefore given this element considerable weight in reaching my decision."