Pupils shown film of drugged-up spiders

8th July 2011 at 01:00
Teacher also screened 'disturbing' video of semen being collected from animals

A teacher who showed a class of 12 and 13-year-olds films of spiders under the influence of drugs and semen being collected from animals has been barred from the profession for two years.

Rebecca Leighton played the "inappropriate" videos during a Year 8 science lesson. A General Teaching Council for England (GTC) panel heard they "disturbed the pupils and offended their parents".

Miss Leighton, who worked at Tudor Grange Academy in Worcester, was suspended from teaching for the maximum period possible.

She admitted the charge of unacceptable professional conduct and helped the school with its investigation. But the GTC panel said it was concerned that she had showed no remorse for what she had done.

Miss Leighton worked at the school between September and December 2009. The footage was shown to children on 22 October.

Panel chair Neil Roskilly said: "Having regard to the age of the pupils, the contents of the videos and the lack of relevance to the curriculum, it was clearly inappropriate to show them," he said.

"Specifically, she failed to maintain reasonable standards in her own behaviour to enable her to maintain an effective learning environment and also to uphold public trust and confidence in the profession.

"Any reasonable person would consider the videos shown to be highly inappropriate, even in the context of a science lesson.

He added: "In light of the obviously inappropriate nature of the videos, which clearly disturbed the pupils and offended their parents, it is necessary and proportionate to impose a sanction."

Mr Roskilly said he was "very concerned" by Miss Leighton's "clear lack of insight" into her actions, shown in a letter she wrote to the GTC in April 2011.

"In particular, Miss Leighton has made no expression of remorse or regret," he said.

Mr Roskilly said it was therefore appropriate to impose an order that would prevent Miss Leighton from teaching. He continued: "But the nature of the allegation is such that a period of suspension is proportionate. It is necessary for this to be the maximum period to allow Ms Leighton to properly reflect on her failings and understand that what she did was not acceptable."

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