Teacher's lapse put child at risk

18th March 2005 at 00:00

Parents were not told daughter, aged 10, had left school early

A primary teacher who failed to tell parents that their 10-year-old daughter had left school early and alone has been found guilty of unacceptable professional conduct by England's General Teaching Council.

Dorian Palmer-Minnis, who taught at Oval primary in Croydon, did not report the girl's departure until early the next day, a private hearing of the GTC heard last week.

The GTC said that the safety of pupils was paramount and in a written judgement told Mr Palmer-Minnis that the girl's parents should have been told when she left school early.

"We accept there were circumstances which created difficulties for you in informing her parents, but this should have been your priority," it said.

"She was only a 10-year-old girl."

Despite finding Mr Palmer-Minnis guilty of unacceptable professional conduct the GTC decided against further action.

The panel said: "As there is no other evidence of your failing to attend to children's safety and welfare and in the light of the positive testimony from some parents and pupils, we have decided that no merit would be served in making a disciplinary order and it is sufficient to conclude the case.

"We have taken into account that this incident took place four years ago and that it was a lapse in judgement which you rectified the following morning."

The committee also heard complaints that Mr Palmer-Minnis had been rude to pupils.

It heard he berated one pupil, calling her a "rude little girl who tells lies", and then banned her from attending his after-school tennis club.

The panel said: "There were mitigating circumstances in connection with what you felt were unfounded allegations."

Mr Palmer-Minnis upset another 10-year-old by telling her she had the spelling age of an eight-year-old while another child, known as pupil F, was too scared to come to school because of him, the GTC heard.

The GTC told Mr Palmer-Minnis: "There is no evidence that your intentions were to cause Pupil F to fear coming to school.

"However, we recommend you give thought to the atmosphere your teaching style creates in the classroom and the impact it has on some children."

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