Ban worthy but school claims false

2nd April 2010 at 01:00

The article "One-year classroom ban for teacher who 'ridiculed and humiliated' pupils" (February 5) contained a series of desperate and false claims made about me at the General Teaching Council for Wales (GTCW) conduct hearing for banned teacher Catherine Dean.

In a vain attempt to excuse Mrs Dean's harassment of children it was claimed at the hearing that a "poisonous atmosphere" characterised my school.

This hollow claim was not the view shared by pupils, parents or Estyn. Under my headship, St David's was a school with a very welcoming and happy atmosphere.

It was also falsely claimed that a Catholic priest quit the governing body because of the same fictitious atmosphere.

I emphatically refute this and the public accusation that I undermined Mrs Dean. She finally admitted at the hearing to appalling actions towards children in her care throughout her employment at St David's School - that is, from day one of her post.

I feel the GTCW quite rightly demanded a psychiatric report on her mental fitness.

My staff and I were asked to give Mrs Dean a fresh start following her difficulties at a previous school. Consequently, we provided intensive individual and group support from the outset to enable Mrs Dean to meet her personal and professional challenges up until her suspension in 2005 - a period of eight years. She was then suspended as a result of formal complaints made by nine members of my staff.

By banning Mrs Dean for just one year, the GTCW has acted too leniently and created a loophole for another sacked teacher to reoffend.

Christine Pilling, Headteacher, St David's Catholic Primary School, Mold (1996-2007).

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