Ban for 'abusive' teacher who taunted disabled boy about his size

10th June 2011 at 01:00
He called the child 'Joe Witless' and asked if another SEN pupil had taken his 'mad pills'

A teacher who called children with special educational needs derogatory names in a sustained campaign of "mental and emotional abuse" has been barred from the profession.

Christopher Elliott claimed he was being humorous when calling pupils "mad" and "stupid", but his actions had a serious negative impact on pupils and staff, a General Teaching Council for England (GTC) panel heard.

Mr Elliott, who taught at Christopher Whitehead Language College in Worcester, behaved inappropriately towards the children for a "significant period of time", the GTC was told.

He referred to one physically disabled child as "Joe Witless". He knelt down on the floor so he was on the same level as the pupil and said words to the effect of: "Is this what it is like being you? You can't learn anything because you can't see anything."

When he discovered the boy had a younger brother, Mr Elliott told him he "thought his parents would have stopped having children after having had him".

On a visit to a church, he asked the boy more than once if he needed a ladder to get over a fence less than a foot high and made a series of other comments about his size.

In class Mr Elliott would ask the pupil to stand up, and when the child did so he would repeat the question and say: "Sorry Joe, didn't realise you were stood up already."

The teacher also asked a second child with poor language skills deliberately obscure questions in order to humiliate him, the GTC ruled. He asked a third child whether he had taken his "mad pills yet".

Mr Elliott refused to allow pupils to go the toilet when they asked, and shook his water bottle at them.

The quality of his teaching was also criticised. He repeatedly covered the same material, asked children to draw or colour, and failed to lead the class or teaching assistants appropriately.

He told the GTC panel he was "saddened" by his conduct and that he "should have known better".

"We note that you believed you were using humour, but the comments you made are clearly derogatory and demeaning, and the papers including statements of staff and pupils demonstrate the adverse impact of your behaviour," panel chair Elizabeth Purnell said.

"The relevant pupils here were vulnerable, and yet instead of finding themselves in a safe and supportive environment they were subjected to verbal abuse and taunts, and inadequate teaching methods.

"This was a sustained course of conduct and you had received advice from your headteacher in relation to your approach."

Mr Elliott was struck off indefinitely, but can apply for permission to be a teacher again after two years.


Race slur head 'intimidated all'

A head who described parents as "Muslim fuckers" and called a supply teacher a "black bitch" has been banned from the profession indefinitely.

Simon Parker, who was head of Coppice Primary School in Chigwell, Essex, in 2008 and 2009, "harassed, belittled, intimidated and bullied" staff and pupils, a General Teaching Council for England panel heard.

Mr Parker said about an early-years adviser of Chinese origin, "Thai, Hong Kong Phooey - I can't stand them", and pulled his eyes sideways in order to impersonate her.

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