Jailed head faces disciplinary action

5th October 2007 at 01:00
PAUL DAVIES, the headteacher jailed for 15 months after driving like a "boy racer" and causing a crash that left a man wheelchair-bound will face a full disciplinary hearing for unprofessional conduct by the General Teaching Council for Wales, TES Cymru can reveal this week.

The shock decision of governors at Cwmdare Primary School in Cynon Valley to keep Mr Davies's job open, despite a technical possibility he could return in a prisoner's tag after early release, hit national headlines this summer.

Outraged crash victim Kelvin Palmer vowed to overturn the ruling by making a complaint to the GTCW.

And a spokesperson for the professional conduct body confirmed this week that such a complaint had since been received from police and the official disciplinary procedure had started.

Under the disciplinary process, members of a professional conduct committee will hear the case. The committees have the same powers as tribunals and can examine all relevant documents and call witnesses.Its decision could lead to Mr Davies being struck off the GTCW register for at least two years with a suspension or termination of employment.

The governors' ruling to keep the 51-year-old's job open was made after he made an impassioned plea to be allowed to return.

Hundreds of signatures were collected in his support and his National Association of Head Teachers Cymru representative, Anne Hovey, claimed there was widespread backing for the "popular headteacher".

Speaking after the ruling, she claimed his "impeccable and unblemished" record had allowed governors to make the "strange and unusual decision".

In his defence, Ms Hovey said he had apologised to governors, claiming he would explain his actions to the children in an appropriate manner if allowed to keep his position. He also told them he would spend his time in prison helping to educate fellow inmates.

But Mr Palmer said: "It's alarming a head could be in school with a tag that must be a first."

The widespread support among parents and the community is also questionable.

The local newspaper's website was bombarded with complaints following the decision to keep him in post, with most writers saying that Mr Davies should no longer be in charge of looking after small children.

Mr Davies was convicted of dangerous driving in May 2006. The court heard he had been driving his Subaru Impreza at speeds of up to 120mph before the smash on the A465 Heads of the Valley Road. He lost control in wet and windy weather as he tried to break and collided with a Ford Fiesta driven by Mr Palmer, then 49.

Mr Davies has always denied driving at top speeds.

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