A teacher who turned up to lessons “still drunk from the night before” has been banned for at least two years.
Adeniyi Oyeyele-Green, 34, who taught at Chingford Foundation School in Waltham Forest, north London, was found by a professional conduct panel of the Teaching Regulation Agency to have put pupils at risk of harm by coming to school under the influence of alcohol.
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The panel heard that, on 1 November 2018, a number of staff members noticed Mr Oyeyele-Green was acting in a manner “not consistent with his usual way”.
Giving evidence, Mr Oyeyele-Green’s former line manager (Witness A), said he turned up at school a few minutes late, missed a departmental briefing and came to see her in her office at around 8.30am.
She said he seemed “worried and antagonistic”, which was exacerbated when she told him she would soon be leaving the school.
On hearing this, Mr Oyeyele-Green reportedly burst into tears, saying: “Why do all the good people leave in my life?”.
She said that there had been ongoing concerns for Mr Oyeyele-Green’s welfare, especially in light of a recent bereavement. This had led to a period of compassionate leave and a recent observation of one of his lessons – which Witness A described as a “car-crash”.
'He was slumped in his chair'
Despite his “unusual behaviour”, Mr Oyeyele-Green went to his first lesson as normal.
But Witness A said he turned up late to his next session, and “appeared disorganised”, with “stains all down the front of his shirt”.
Concerned that he might be drunk, Witness A spoke to the school’s HR manager who said she would see Mr Oyeyele-Green during breaktime.
The school’s assistant principal (Witness B), who also attended the meeting, told the panel that Mr Oyeyele-Green was “slumped in his chair, looking dishevelled and with stains down his shirt and trousers”.
Witness B added that the science teacher did not seem “in a fit state to teach children” and “had the appearance of still being drunk, rather than just tired from a bad hangover”. He said he could also “clearly smell strong alcohol” on Mr Oyeyele-Green’s breath.
A colleague at the school (Witness C) said she saw Mr Oyeyele-Green telling staff about the night before, adding: “He had been to the pub for one drink and ended up staying all night…Mr Green was all over the place...it was like he was still drunk.”
She also reported that she could smell "weed" in the science teacher’s classroom, but the panel said there was insufficient evidence to prove this. Mr Oyeyele-Green strongly denied that he had smoked cannabis.
Mr Oyeyele-Green did not attend the hearing, but the panel was presented with his written representations from January and September 2019.
The science teacher accepted that he had been out for Halloween and had "quite a bit to drink”, but said he was “sober enough when [he] arrived at work to teach”.
He added: “Going out on a school night is something I usually never do but I got carried away.”
Teaching under the influence of alcohol
Giving its ruling, the panel said: "In the light of the evidence from Witness B that he smelt a strong smell of alcohol on Mr Oyeyele-Green and the acceptance from the teacher that he had been out the night before, the panel was satisfied that Mr Oyeyele-Green had consumed alcohol within a few hours of attending school to teach.
"All of the live witnesses did consider Mr Oyeyele-Green's behaviour to be out of character and having hallmarks of being intoxicated.
"While Mr Oyeyele-Green denied this part of the allegation, the panel preferred the evidence of the witnesses who had attended to be cross-examined and therefore find proved that Mr Oyeyele-Green was under the influence of alcohol."
While it accepted that the science teacher had a "previously good history" and the incident was "out of character", and it did not consider there to be any malice to Mr Oyeyele-Green's actions, the panel said the pupils in his care were “at an increased risk of harm by his attendance at school while under the influence of alcohol”.
It therefore decided that Mr Oyeyele-Green's actions amounted to “misconduct of a serious nature that fell significantly short of the standards expected of the profession”.
The panel agreed that Mr Oyeyele-Green should be banned from the profession, with the opportunity to apply for a review after two years.
Its recommendations were upheld by the Department for Education's decision-maker Dawn Dandy.