Ranting NQT in trouble

15th July 2005 at 01:00
Council reprimands teacher for venting anger at colleagues in front of her pupils. Andrew Wakefield reports

A teacher who subjected a class to a foul-mouthed rant, after she claimed staff were spreading rumours about an inappropriate relationship with a pupil, has been reprimanded.

Laura Tierney, who is still teaching at Longbenton community college, in North Tyneside, vented her anger at colleagues to her Year 9 history class in 2003, after discovering rumours were circulating about her dating a Year 10 boy.

During the rant, in which she denied the rumours, she used the word "fuck" repeatedly, called one teacher a "fat Scottish bitch" and made disparaging remarks about another teacher's dress sense.

Miss Tierney was found guilty of unacceptable professional conduct by England's General Teaching Council, in Birmingham, and was issued with a reprimand to remain on her registration record for the next two years.

However, claims that Miss Tierney said other teachers had been involved with each other in a locked classroom, that another was gay and that two staff members were caught "inappropriately involved" were not proven. A further allegation that she told pupils that one of the teachers had a "fat arse" was also not proven.

Louise Skinner, history curriculum leader at the school, took statements from six of the children who had been in the lesson. They all recalled Miss Tierney saying that other members of staff were dating pupils, having affairs with each other and insinuating that one of them was gay.

However, the GTC panel said they had serious misgivings about relying solely on the students' statements as they had an opportunity for collusion.

The rumours about Miss Tierney becoming inappropriately involved with the Year 10 boy were not substantiated.

Andre Yeung, Miss Tierney's representative, said she had felt let down by the amount of support she received while employed as a newly-qualified teacher. He said: "As well as the rumours, it left her feeling isolated and alone. Stress and frustration resulted in out-of-character behaviour."

He said Miss Tierney regretted her actions.

Judy Moorhouse, chairman of the panel, said: "Miss Tierney has recognised that it was unethical of her to vent her frustration with the school in front of pupils. There is no reason for us to think, in that light, that she will behave inappropriately again."

* newsdesk@tes.co.uk

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