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Two-year ban for driving offences

A teacher who was convicted of driving a stolen car and drink-driving has been banned from teaching for two years.

Sarah Brown, who taught at Deansfield high, Wolverhampton, was found guilty of unacceptable professional conduct at a General Teaching Council hearing in Birmingham.

She was convicted for handling stolen goods and, on a separate occasion, driving with excess alcohol while working at Deansfield.

Mrs Brown was arrested by police for driving a car that had damaged locks and had been started without a key.

She told police that it was her boyfriend's car, but Wolverhampton crown court concluded she knew the car was stolen because her boyfriend was unable legally to own a car.

The committee heard that she received a conditional discharge for 12 months in July 2002 for handling stolen goods. She was convicted of drink-driving in August 2002 and disqualified from driving for 18 months.

The committee was told that Mrs Brown, who qualified as a teacher in 1998, had also been convicted of 11 offences between July 1988 and December 1990.

The offences included five counts of burglary, two counts of causing actual bodily harm, and communicating false information causing a bomb alert.

She was not present or legally represented at the hearing.

Sheleen McCormack, presenting officer, said: "Handling stolen property is a very serious offence, especially when the person knows or believes the goods to be stolen. The purpose of this hearing is not to punish Mrs Brown but to maintain the high standards and good name of the teaching profession.

"The public must have confidence in the profession and have a right to expect nothing but the highest standards from registered teachers."

Dorothy Elliott, chair of the GTC committee, said: "Her behaviour was dishonest and socially unacceptable. We have issued a prohibition as it is our duty to protect pupils. It is regrettable she did not attend as we have nothing by way of explanation for her behaviour."

The committee was not told whether the school was aware of Mrs Brown's offences. She can reapply to the teaching register after two years.

* newsdesk@tes.co.uk

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