'Not guilty' but banned for a year

27th November 2009 at 00:00
Disciplinary committee finds teacher guilty despite being cleared by crown court

A primary teacher has been found guilty of using unnecessary force against a pupil by the General Teaching Council for Wales, despite being cleared in relation to the incident at a criminal trial.

Ian Reynolds, a former teacher at Maesmarchog Primary in Neath, was found not guilty of grievous bodily harm against an eight-year-old boy at Swansea Crown Court in 2004. The boy, referred to as T, suffered a broken collar bone.

This week, the GTCW said Mr Reynolds had caused the boy's injuries by using unnecessary force in removing him from his classroom.

It was one of three charges found proven against Mr Reynolds by the GTCW, leading to a 12-month classroom ban.

Mr Reynolds, 38, was also found guilty of using T's name to access pornography on a school laptop.

Teaching assistant Julie Reynolds, no relation, was in the classroom when the incident took place in December 2003, the GTCW heard.

She told the hearing that the boy became agitated after being told to tidy up toys and threw some Lego at another pupil. Mr Reynolds grabbed him by the wrists and dragged him from the room, she said.

Other staff saw T in the corridor crying in pain and complaining of a sore shoulder. An X-ray revealed a broken collarbone.

Martin Jones, for the GTCW, said two other teaching assistants heard a thump against the wall when T was taken out of the classroom, which he said was "likely" to have caused the injury.

Mr Reynolds had denied the charge, claiming that teaching assistants left T unsupervised during a break, which was when the injury probably occurred. He was suspended from school and later dismissed for gross misconduct.

Two years later, a school laptop in Mr Reynolds's possession for six months during his suspension was found to have adult material on it. It was subsequently connected to a classroom whiteboard, meaning that pupils could have accessed sexually explicit material, the hearing heard.

The computer had also been used to access websites for swingers, with T's name used to set up some of the online identities.

Mr Reynolds did not attend the hearing, but his former union representative branded the GTCW a "kangaroo court".

Rex William, Wales organiser of the NASUWT, said: "There simply wasn't enough evidence. It should be the case that the graver the alleged offence the greater the need for the evidence to support the case."

The GTCW follows civil court rules, which means the standard of proof required is "on the balance of probabilities" rather than the threshold of beyond reasonable doubt needed in criminal cases.

Hayden Llewellyn, the council's deputy chief executive, said: "The decision was based on the evidence from the hearing, and was made in accordance with the procedures and rules."

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