Extra training gets teacher who taped pupil's lips shut out of sticky situation

4th June 2010 at 01:00
She escapes ban as GTC rules class management course is adequate recompense for 'unacceptable' conduct

A teacher who Sellotaped one of her pupil's lips shut in class has been ordered to learn how to manage classes.

Sima Abramovitz escaped a ban from the profession, despite a General Teaching Council for England (GTC) verdict that she couldn't control lessons and put the health and safety of pupils at risk.

There was a "repeated blurring" of the relationship between her and children, which led to "inappropriate displays of both anger and affection", the GTC panel said.

It was "very concerned" that she put tape over a pupil's mouth and that on more than one occasion she discussed children's private "health issues" in front of the whole class. She also gave "excessive" help to children with their GCSE coursework.

Ms Abramovitz, who taught at Aldworth Science College in Basingstoke, also used inappropriate language in class. She hugged and kissed female pupils, screamed at "pupil F" and taped the lips of "pupil G". The GTC panel also heard that she had "completed and dictated" coursework. All incidents happened between 2006 and 2009.

Ms Abramovitz was found guilty of unacceptable professional conduct and breaching the "standards of propriety and trust" expected of a teacher. She admitted the charges.

"The committee was particularly concerned about the occasions on which Ms Abramovitz lacked the ability to control activities within the drama lessons which led to the health and safety of her pupils being at risk, and the repeated blurring of the relationship between teacher and pupil manifested by inappropriate displays of both anger and affection towards pupils," the panel said.

"The committee was very concerned at the action on the part of Ms Abramovitz in placing tape over a pupils mouth and on more than one occasion raising specific health issues of individual pupils in front of the class and, by her own admission, providing excessive help to pupils with their GCSE coursework.

"The committee concludes that Ms Abramovitz's behaviour seriously demeaned and undermined pupils, failed to take reasonable care of pupils under her supervision, and failed to comply with the requirements of statutory bodies relating to the examination, assessment and evaluation of pupil achievement. Such behaviours are likely to bring the reputation and standing of the profession into serious disrepute."

Ms Abramovitz submitted references from former pupils and teaching colleagues, which were supportive of her. The GTC panel also heard evidence that she had a medical condition and was taking medication.

Julie Churcher, headteacher at Aldworth, described Ms Abramovitz as "someone who could be inspirational and highly motivational" and had the ability to deliver lessons which were "stunning". She said problems were caused by Ms Abramovitz's inadequate planning, preparation and classroom management, which would place her under considerable pressure and mean she would "react inappropriately".

She must complete a class management course within 12 months.

Tales of the tape: when teachers come unstuck

This is not the first time a teacher who has resorted to Sellotaping pupils has come in front of the GTC.

In 2005, Parveen Khan, a teacher at Manor Park Primary in Aston, Birmingham, taped a special needs boy to a chair and refused to let him go to the toilet. She was banned from the profession for three years.

And in 2008, Carolyn Greig, assistant head of Bourne Grammar in Lincolnshire, was found guilty of unprofessional conduct for putting Sellotape across a boy's lips to stop the boy "showing off" to his classmates. Her class had cheered her on when she initially 'jokingly' threatened the punishment, but she subsequently reduced the child to tears. Mrs Greig was banned from holding a senior position in any school for five years.

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