Teacher assaulted head

A primary teacher who admitted pushing his headteacher several times has been found guilty of unacceptable professional conduct by England's General Teaching Council.

Stephen Bryant, formerly of St Mary's Roman Catholic school, Evesham, was reprimanded by the professional conduct committee. He accepted responsibility for his actions and apologised to head Brian McSharry. "I feeL as a professional I shouldn't have behaved in that way," he said.

The reprimand stays on the GTC register for two years and Mr Bryant has been unable to work in his native county as Worcestershire local authority has refused to add his name to its approved list of supply teachers.

He resigned from St Mary's last December after 18 years and has been working as a supply teacher in Birmingham and the Black Country.

Mr Bryant, who taught Years 3 and 4, said the pressures of a heavy workload had added to his strain at the time of the incident and that he was unlikely to act in that way again.

Claire Easterbrook, chair of the GTC panel, told him: "It is not appropriate for teachers to use physical force, although this was an isolated incident in an otherwise satisfactory career."

The GTC heard that Mr McSharry intervened in a disagreement over meeting schedules between Mr Bryant and another member of staff on July 1, 2003. Mr Bryant felt humiliated and angry as Mr McSharry admonished him for raising his voice in an area where pupils could easily have overheard.

He pushed Mr McSharry in the chest with both hands. Shocked, Mr McSharry requested that Mr Bryant join him in his office to discuss what he considered to be an assault.

During the heated exchange that followed, Mr Bryant pushed Mr McSharry three more times before storming out of the school as the police were called.

Mr McSharry, who underwent a quadruple heart bypass five years ago and takes daily medication, was left looking drained and feeling shaky, but on the advice of the police decided to take no further action.

He had worked with Mr Bryant for 13 years and described him as a teacher of considerable experience and achievement whose behaviour that day was uncharacteristic.

Mr Bryant expected to be suspended and said: "Prior to the incident there was an atmosphere of division and mistrust toward me from Mr McSharry.

There was a definite sense of underlying resentment."

Governors advised later that he was very likely to be dismissed, but Mr Bryant's resignation on December 31, 2003, prevented a further internal inquiry.

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