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Teacher who threw 'piece of metal' at pupil is banned for dishonesty

Ian Leigh demonstrated "behaviours associated with the offences of fraud and serious dishonesty" by covering up dismissal, professional conduct panel finds

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Ian Leigh demonstrated "behaviours associated with the offences of fraud and serious dishonesty" by covering up dismissal, professional conduct panel finds

A teacher has been banned from the profession for covering up the fact that he was dismissed from his previous school for throwing a piece of metal at a pupil.

Ian Leigh, a teacher at Wales High School in South Yorkshire, admitted that his behaviour represented “unacceptable professional conduct” to a disciplinary panel of the National College for Teaching and Leadership.

According to the panel’s decision notice, Mr Leigh was originally dismissed from his role as an engineering teacher at UTC Sheffield following an incident in December 2015 in which he raised his voice and “threw a piece of metal” towards a student – referred to as ‘Pupil A’ – which “came into contact” with the student’s leg.

The panel viewed CCTV footage of the incident, but said that it was “not very clear”.

In the footage, “Pupil A was observed turning around towards Mr Leigh and looking to the ground in a manner which suggested that an object was on the floor,” the notice states.

“The panel noted that the demeanour of both Mr Leigh and Pupil A indicated that a confrontation was taking place between them which involved physical gestures but no physical contact between the individuals.”

Mr Leigh admitted to “unnecessary conduct” in raising his voice and throwing the piece of metal.

After his dismissal from Sheffield UTC for this incident, Mr Leigh applied for a teaching position through a recruitment agency.

However, he failed to disclose the fact that he had been employed by UTC Sheffield and the reason for his dismissal. The panel found that he provided “false information to the recruitment agency”, claiming he had been self-employed during the period when he was working for UTC Sheffield.

This included a false reference to the recruitment agency from a business partner, “purporting to confirm his self-employed status”.

The decision note states that Mr Leigh’s “conduct was with a view to concealing his dismissal for gross misconduct” and that he had been “dishonest”.

The panel concluded that both the original incident involving Pupil A and Mr Leigh’s attempted cover-up both amounted to “unacceptable professional conduct and conduct that may bring the profession into disrepute”.

It considered that the original episode with the piece of metal was not enough to warrant a prohibition order because it was “nothing beyond an isolated incident resulting from a temporary loss of self-control”, and Mr Leigh did not present “a continuing risk to the safety and security of pupils”.

However, the panel judged that his cover-up was sufficiently serious to merit a prohibition order because it involved "behaviours associated with the offences of fraud and serious dishonesty”.

The education secretary’s representative accepted the panel’s recommendation to prohibit him from teaching indefinitely. But Mr Leigh can apply for the order to be dropped in two years’ time.

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