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Suspension for teacher who abandoned Year 6 class

A supply teacher who left a class of primary pupils unattended has been suspended from teaching for nine months.

David Wyn Williams walked out on a Year 6 class at Victoria Primary in Penarth and left the school without telling anyone, a General Teaching Council for Wales (GTCW) disciplinary panel heard.

Staff at the school only realised he was gone when his pupils went to find the deputy head to say they had been left alone.

Presenting officer Emma Poole told the hearing that Mr Williams claimed he had an urgent family problem and was overcome by a need to make sure his wife was OK.

She said he claimed the behaviour of several pupils was unacceptable and he had sent several messages to senior staff and received no response. Mr Williams, who admitted unprofessional conduct, told the hearing he "deeply regretted" his behaviour.

He apologised in person to headteacher Tina Taylor after she gave evidence to the panel, and said he "wasn't thinking straight" and was in a "panic" about his wife, who was suffering from stress and depression at the time.

He also claimed he sent a pupil to fetch the deputy head but the pupil did not return.

Mr Williams has not taught since the incident, which took place in July last year, and is no longer registered with the GTCW.

"It has been devastating on my whole life and my professional career," he said. "I took the decision to end it prematurely. I was a good teacher and had a lot to offer schools, but I can't offer that any more in Wales."

Committee chairwoman Sheila Drayton called it a "serious incidence of unprofessional conduct".

Mr Williams was suspended from teaching for nine months and will have to provide the GTCW with a medical report to confirm that a return to the classroom will not adversely affect his health.

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