Ex-drug addict to teach again

7th April 2006 at 01:00
GTC gives maths teacher who was arrested for possessing heroin a second chance. Simon Dawson reports

A former drug addict who served a 12-month rehabilitation community order for possessing class A drugs has been told she can return to teaching by England's General Teaching Council.

Ann-Marie Carlin was a teacher at the Margaret Glen-Bott school in Nottingham when she was arrested in June 2004 for possessing pound;120 worth of drugs including cocaine, heroin, amphetamine and cannabis.

A disciplinary hearing in Birmingham last week found her guilty of unacceptable professional behaviour, but said the former maths teacher could return to teaching on a three-year conditional registration.

Ms Carlin, who is now unemployed, will have to undergo drug tests every month for a year and every two months for the following two years.

She became a heroin addict in February 2004 and her habit had made her incapable of teaching.

When she was arrested for possession, she was found to have five wraps of heroin, a small amount of cocaine, 2.9 grams of amphetamine and cannabis worth pound;30.

A month later, in July 2004, she was arrested and cautioned for shoplifting and in August 2004 for possessing cannabis. In January 2005, Derby Crown Court ordered her to serve a 12-month community rehabilitation order.

Gareth Owen, former headteacher at the school, said Ms Carlin was a "vibrant and well-organised teacher" who had been popular with pupils, but he said her performance became erratic at the beginning of 2004.

Ms Carlin told the hearing that she had come to terms with her drug problem and had begun rehabilitation. She finished her community rehabilitation order in January 2006 and was trying to return to teaching.

"Clearly there is no excuse for the way I behaved and I am responsible for my actions," she said. "I feel a sense of guilt, shame and horror over what I have done and it is difficult to come to terms with the mistakes I have made."

She said she had successfully beaten her addiction.

"I would love the opportunity to teach again. This experience has made me a stronger person and I hope one day it will make me a stronger teacher," she said.

Ms Carlin began teaching in 1997 and spent four years at Unity primary. She moved to Margaret Glen-Bott school in 2002.

Andrew Faux, presenting officer, said: "Her use of heroin may well have overlapped with her appearance in school."

But he said Ms Carlin had shown clear motivation in seeking help and beating her addiction. "We must weigh up all the good things she has done since the recognition of her addiction," he said.

John Rimmer, who chaired the disciplinary hearing, said Ms Carlin was guilty of unacceptable professional conduct, but told her: "You have sought assistance to deal with your problems and shown every indication of beating your addiction."

* newsdesk@tes.co.uk

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