Reprimand for giving pound;50 to informer

8th October 2004 at 01:00
A head of special needs who paid a vulnerable pupil pound;50 to act as an informer has been found guilty of unacceptable professional conduct by the General Teaching Council of England, but will still be able to teach.

Sheridan Pawson, formerly of Holgate school, Barnsley, south Yorkshire, had offered money to pupils in her special needs class to name a thief. She later paid a boy, pupil A, with her own money.

The panel heard last week that Mrs Pawson offered the reward to her Year 10 maths class in March 2003 after a spate of thefts.

After receiving information Mrs Pawson, who was not present or represented at the hearing, wrote out a cheque to the boy's mother.

She was suspended in April 2003, after 30 years at the school, after admitting her actions, and was dismissed five months later.

The panel heard that Mrs Pawson was already on a five-year written warning for gross misconduct after assaulting a pupil in 2002.

Jacqueline Rothery, Holgate's head, said: "The class was comprised of vulnerable pupils and pupil A was especially vulnerable. If the thief had knowledge of his actions he would have been extremely at risk."

In a written statement, Mrs Pawson claimed her line manager Karen Chadwick had known about the reward, but Miss Chadwick said: "If she had mentioned it alarm bells would have started ringing."

Issuing a reprimand, Gail Mortimer, the committee chairman, said: "The action involved the use of her own money and was without the school's authority."

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