Lifetime ban for teacher who hit toddler

21st January 2011 at 00:00

A special needs teacher who hit an autistic toddler so hard it left red marks on his leg has been banned from teaching for life by a disciplinary sub-committee of the General Teaching Council for Scotland.

Linda Steel was working at an additional support unit at Rimbleton Primary in Glenrothes when she struck the P2 pupil in January 2009 after he had become agitated.

Teaching auxiliary Susan Penman had taken the pupil to his classroom from the dining hall to calm him down. Ms Steel, who had close to 30 years' teaching experience, then took him into a side room from where Ms Penman said she heard a loud slap and the child became quiet.

She claimed Ms Steel said afterwards: "`There's too much namby-pambying in this school.'"

The tribunal also heard from Ewan Trousdale, the school's headteacher, who said Ms Steel denied the incident had taken place.

Ms Steel, from Kirkcaldy, Fife, failed to attend the hearing, which took place in Edinburgh on Tuesday.

"The GTCS panel said it was satisfied that the facts alleged in the charge were proved on the basis of the direct evidence from Ms Penman and the investigation carried out by Mr Trousdale."

The sub-committee said it was aware that Ms Steel's actions could have "an adverse impact upon public confidence in the teaching profession".

In another GTCS hearing, a teacher who struck a pupil on the hand with a chisel during a class was also struck off.

Douglas Tredinnick, who taught at St Machar Academy in Aberdeen and has since retired, hit the youngster on the hand with the tool during an incident in 2008.

The 65-year-old former design and technology teacher was also found guilty of assaulting another student at the same school just one week later by slapping him on the back of his head with his hand.

Mr Tredinnick denied the chisel incident but admitted the second assault. He failed to appear at the sub-committee.

The boy who was struck by the chisel was described by senior teacher Janice Duncan as a "well-behaved, model pupil who didn't get into trouble".

scoted@tes.co.uk.

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