Prostituted by training debts

21st July 2000 at 01:00
THE growing interest in the alternative careers of stressed teachers sparked a tabloid feeding frenzylast week, when the double life of geography teacher Claire Norman became front-page news.

The 26-year-old had apparently been working in classrooms by day and as a prostitute by night to clear her teacher-training debts.

Other high-profile, but less controversial, career switches which have hit the news include Tim Gunn, who left his pound;31,000 primary school headship to drive an 18-wheel juggernaut, and Paul Silvester, a deputy head, who has left the profession after 15 years to become a barman.

Another ex-head, Rob Funnell, has become the driving force behind an East Midlands bus rather than a Nottingham primary school after being signed off school with stress-related depression. The 49-year-old said his new job, which pays barely a third of his former salary, had given him a new lease of life.

The Sun's "exclusive" last week, which included pictures of Ms Norman in a sober gre suit and red basque, revealed that she had signed up for an escort agency when she moved to Nottingham after university, and earned up to pound;2,000 a week.

Before the story broke, Ms Norman resigned from the Select teacher agency where she had been on the books since September.

The geography teacher, who qualified in September 1993 and had taught for a year before joining the agency, worked in nine secondary schools while with Select. She had worked at Margaret Glen-Bott comprehensive, in Wollaton, Nottingham, a few weeks before her secret life was exposed.

Roger Tanner, headteacher at the school, said Ms Norman had provided sick leave cover at the school for a couple of weeks. Her moonlighting had come as a complete shock.

Select was similarly surprised. A spokesman said a full and in- depth reference check had been carried out. "Ms Norman provided two good references and there were no problems with police and List 99 checks. Beyond that we have no further comment."

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