Cleared by crown court on pupil injury but banned from school for a year

27th November 2009 at 00:00
Disciplinary committee decides teacher used unnecessary force against boy, despite verdict of criminal trial

A primary school teacher has been found guilty of using unnecessary force against a pupil by the General Teaching Council for Wales, despite being cleared in relation to the incident at a criminal trial.

Ian Reynolds, a former teacher at Maesmarchog Primary in Neath, was found not guilty of grievous bodily harm against an eight year-old boy following a hearing at Swansea Crown Court in 2004.

The boy, referred to as T, suffered a broken collar bone. This week the GTCW said Mr Reynolds had caused the boy's injuries by using unnecessary force in removing him from his classroom.

It was one of three charges found proven against Mr Reynolds by the GTCW, leading him to be banned from the classroom for 12 months.

Mr Reynolds, 38, was also found guilty of using the injured pupil's name to access pornography on a school laptop.

Teaching assistant Julie Reynolds, no relation, was in Mr Reynolds' classroom when the incident with T took place in December 2003, the GTCW heard.

She told the hearing that the boy became agitated after being told to tidy toys in the classroom and threw some Lego at another pupil. Mr Reynolds grabbed him by the wrists and dragged him from the classroom, she said.

Other staff saw T in the corridor crying in pain and complaining of a sore shoulder. He was taken to hospital after school, where an x-ray revealed a broken collarbone.

Martin Jones, for the GTCW, said two other teaching assistants heard a thump against the wall when T was taken out of the classroom, which he said was "likely" to have caused the injury.

Mr Reynolds had denied the charge, claiming that teaching assistants left T unsupervised during a break, which was when the injury probably occurred. He was suspended from school and later dismissed for gross misconduct.

Two years later a school laptop that Mr Reynolds had in his possession for six months during his suspension was found to have adult material on it.

The laptop was subsequently connected to a classroom whiteboard, meaning that pupils could have accessed sexually explicit material, the hearing heard.

The computer had also been used to access swinging websites, with T's name used to set up some of the online identities.

Mr Reynolds did not attend the hearing, but his former union representative branded the GTCW as a "kangaroo court".

Rex Phillips, Wales organiser of the NASUWT, said: "There simply wasn't enough evidence. It should be the case that the graver the alleged offence the greater the need for the evidence to support the case."

The GTCW follows civil court rules, which mean that the standard of proof required is "on the balance of probabilities" rather than the threshold of beyond reasonable doubt needed in criminal cases.

Hayden Llewellyn, the council's deputy chief executive, said: "The decision made by the committee was based on the evidence from the hearing, and was made in accordance with the procedures and rules."

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