No ban for head who pulled Year 7 pupil's ear

15th July 2011 at 01:00
Police cautioned him after two 'assaults'

A headteacher who grabbed a Year 7 pupil by his shirt and tie and pulled his ear has been allowed to remain in the profession.

Ian Lucas also acted in "an inappropriate and threatening manner" towards a Year 10 child and was cautioned by the police after the incidents.

Mr Lucas admitted at a General Teaching Council for England (GTC) hearing that he had assaulted the two pupils while in charge of the "challenging" Gladys Aylward School in Enfield, north London, on two separate occasions in November 2009.

Neither child suffered from "bodily harm" but both were "put in fear". The GTC heard Mr Lucas had been provoked by the Year 10 pupil and had then lost his temper.

Mr Lucas, a head of 25 years, denied assaulting a third pupil in February 2009 and the GTC said this allegation could not be proved.

The incident with the Year 7 pupil occurred on 6 November 2009 and the episode with the Year 10 pupil took place three days later.

Mr Lucas, who had been teaching for nearly 36 years and has an "impressive record", was cautioned by police on 25 November.

He was found guilty of unacceptable professional conduct by the GTC.

The panel said Mr Lucas had not taken "reasonable steps" to ensure the safety and well-being of children in his care, and had not shown "reasonable standards" of behaviour. He has now taken early retirement.

"Your conduct fell short of the standards expected of a registered teacher. You yourself recognise that this was unprofessional conduct in both instances. You took hold of pupil B's ear and grabbed him by his shirt and tie. You put pupil C in fear by your behaviour," panel chair Robert Millea said.

"Although there was provocation, you lost your temper in relation to the incident concerning pupil C. Your behaviour in both instances amounted to common assault and you accepted a police caution.

"This was not an isolated incident. You put two pupils in fear. There may have been stresses imposed on you in a challenging school, but the response should never be one of assault.

"A teacher and a headmaster should be able to cope with the situations which confronted you."

Mr Lucas was given a reprimand by the GTC, which will stay on his record for two years. Mr Millea said the incidents were "isolated in a long career" and he had been "completely open about the inappropriateness" of his behaviour.

"You have apologised. You admitted your behaviour at the outset by accepting the police cautions. The committee is satisfied that, in the light of the position you have adopted, your behaviour is most unlikely to be repeated," Mr Millea said.

He added: "There is no evidence to suggest that the two pupils who were subjected to the assault were seriously affected. You were not acting under duress, but the committee find that the circumstances in which the behaviour took place were stressful."

REPRIMANDED

Teacher smelt of alcohol

A teacher came into work under the influence of and smelling of alcohol, a GTC panel heard.

Robert Johnston (pictured) also behaved "inappropriately" towards pupils, giving them lifts in his car, including to a chip shop. He held "open" conversations with children about cannabis, drugs, alcohol, sex and relationships, and bought them soft drinks, chips and chocolate.

Mr Johnston, who worked at Alexandra High School and Sixth Form College in Tipton, West Midlands, was also found guilty of shouting loudly at children. All the incidents occurred between June 2006 and May 2007.

He was given a reprimand, which will stay on his record for two years. Mr Johnston told the GTC hearing that "with hindsight" he would have acted in a different way.

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