A teacher who twisted a pupil’s ears and banged another’s head against a partition board has been banned from the classroom for three years.
Ivan Dennis Reed worked as an unqualified teacher at Nene Park Academy School in Peterborough from 2010 until February last year, where he worked with 11- to 16-year-olds.
A professional conduct panel of the National College for Teaching and Leadership found that Mr Reed had been involved in incidents where he “physically hit, hurt and upset pupils” despite receiving clear instruction regarding physical contact with pupils over the years.
In one incident in the early part of 2015, Mr Reed shouted in the ear of a pupil in internal exclusion after he asked for help, banged his head into a partition, and punched him on the arm. The pupil was afraid to be put under Mr Reed's supervision following the incident.
In December 2016, Mr Reed approached a Year 7 pupil from behind and twisted and/or pulled his ears in front of a classroom assistant. The pupil told the panel that he was attending an after-school maths session with the classroom assistant. He told the panel: “Mr Reed came up behind me and pulled both of my ears. He put his thumb against either side of my head on the inner ear lobes and twisted my ears. This hurt me…I was trying hard not to cry because it hurt.".
The pupils said that the classroom assistant asked Mr Reed to stop but that he carried on for a little while before doing so. He added that he thought the teacher was “just messing around and having a bit of fun”.
The incident occurred shortly after the school principal had given Mr Reed advice about safeguarding issues.
The 58-year-old teacher was suspended and interviewed as part of an investigation into the incident. A disciplinary process was started but Mr Reed resigned before it had concluded.
In written correspondence with the panel, Mr Reed admitted that he had pulled the pupil's ear but insisted that this was done without malice towards a pupil with whom he felt he had a good relationship.
The panel saw evidence that Mr Reed had received management instruction on several occasions regarding physical contact with pupils.He received regular safeguarding training and he had signed the school's code of conduct which addressed physical contact between staff and pupils.
The panel noted that Mr Reed, who did not attend the hearing, had shown “no regret and remorse and there was no evidence of insight.” It said that it “could not be satisfied that there was no risk of repetition” and recommended a 3-year review period to, “allow Mr Reed adequate time to develop and to reflect upon his behaviour.”
Imposing the ban on behalf of education secretary, Damien Hinds, the NCTL's deputy director, Alan Meyrick, said: “I have considered whether a 3-year review period reflects the seriousness of the findings and is a proportionate period to achieve the aim of maintaining public confidence in the profession.
"In this case, there are three factors that in my view mean that a 2-year review period is not sufficient to achieve the aim of maintaining public confidence in the profession. These elements are: the deliberate nature of the behaviour, the fact that Mr Reed had received training and warnings, and the lack of insight and remorse.
"I consider therefore that a 3-year review period is required to satisfy the maintenance of public confidence in the profession.”