GTC Scotland

The General Teaching Council for Scotland

Comhairle Choitcheann Teagaisg na h-Alba

General Teaching Council for Scotland Fitness to Teach Panel Outcome

Full Hearing - 20, 21, 23 April 2021

 

 Teacher Teacher A
 Registration Number XXXXXX
 Registration category Primary
 Panel Arthur Stewart (Convener),  Jacqueline Blair and Michelle Farrell
 Legal Assessor David McLean
 Servicing Officer Isobel Allan
 Presenting Officer Gary Burton, Anderson Strathern LLP
 Teacher's representative Alastair Milne, Balfour + Manson LLP

Any reference in this decision to:

  • 'GTCS' means the General Teaching Council for Scotland;
  • the 'Panel' means the Fitness to Teach Panel considering the case;
  • the 'Rules' (and any related expression) means the GTCS Fitness to Teach and Appeals Rules 2017 or refers to a provision (or provisions) within them;
  • the 'Register' means the GTCS Register of Teachers; and
  • 'COPAC' means the General Teaching Council for Scotland Code of Professionalism and Conduct 2012 or any provision contained therein.

Preliminary Issues

There were no preliminary issues. However, a previous Panel had continued the Teacher’s application for anonymity to the Full Hearing. The question of anonymity is dealt with at the end of this determination.

Allegation(s)

The following allegation was considered at the hearing:

1 On 11 May 2017, whilst employed at School A, you did use inappropriate and unnecessary restraint on a pupil, Pupil A, then aged 6 years, in that you did grab him by the wrist, shake and pull him roughly.

And in light of the above it is alleged that your fitness to teach is impaired and you are unfit to teach, as a result of breaching Parts 1.2, 1.3, 1.4, 1.6 and 2.3 of the General Teaching Council for Scotland’s Code of Professionalism and Conduct.

Teacher’s Admissions

The Teacher denied the allegation.

Hearing Papers

In accordance with Rule 1.7.17, the Panel admitted all the documents and statements listed below as evidence for the purposes of the hearing:

Presenting Officer’s Hearing Papers

Final Investigation Report dated 5 February 2019 with appendices including:

  • Witness statement of Witness 2, Deputy Head, School A
  • Witness statement of Witness 1, Teaching Support Assistant, School A
  • Log of attempted contact with Colleague 1
  • Investigation Report from School A with appendices below:
    • Appendix 1 – Witness 1 Statement 1
    • Appendix 2 – Colleague 1 Statement 1
    • Appendix 3 – Email from the Teacher to Head Teacher (Colleague 2)
    • Appendix 4 – Colleague 3 email to Colleague 4
    • Appendix 5 – Notes of Suspension Meeting
    • Appendix 6 – LADO Referral
    • Appendix 7 – Email from the Teacher to Head Teacher
    • Appendix 8 – Email Colleague 5 to Witness 2/Head Teacher
    • Appendix 9 – Witness 1 Statement 2 additional notes
    • Appendix 10 – Colleague 6 Statement
    • Appendix 11 – Colleague 1 Statement 2 additional notes
    • Appendix 12 – The Teacher email to Head Teacher
    • Appendix 13 – The Teacher email to Head Teacher
    • Appendix 14 – Letter to the Teacher confirming suspension
    • Appendix 15 – Colleague 1 Statement
    • Appendix 16 – Witness 1 Statement
    • Appendix 17 – Minutes of Investigative Meeting with additional notes
    • Appendix 18 – Interview Colleague 7 and Colleague 5
    • Appendix 19 – Interview Colleague 7 and Witness 2
    • Appendix 20 – Telephone interview Colleague 7 and Colleague 8
    • Appendix 21 – Post Investigative meeting Colleague 7 and Witness 1
    • Appendix 22 – Expert witness interview Colleague 7 and Colleague 9
    • Appendix 23 – School Behaviour and Discipline Policy
    • Appendix 24 – CALM information sheet
    • Appendix 25 – Behaviour Support plan for pupil
    • Appendix 26 – Individual Risk Assessment for pupil
    •  Appendix 27 – The Teacher Job Application
    •  Appendix 28 – Notes of Probation Meeting the Teacher
    •  Appendix 29 – Email trail from Colleague 8
    •  Appendix 30 – Colleague 4 email to the Teacher
    •  Appendix 31 – LSB Disciplinary Policy
    •  Appendix 32 – Email from the Teacher re minutes of meeting
    •  Appendix 33 – Department of Education Teachers’ Standards.

Teacher’s Hearing Papers

  • Decision of Teaching Regulation Agency dated 18 April 2018
  • Statement of Character Witness 1
  • Statement of Character Witness 2
  • Statement of Character Witness 3
  • Statement of the Teacher
  • Letter from Character Witness 4, Principal Teacher, dated 8 February 2018
  • Letter from Character Witness 3, Principal Teacher, Autism Service 1, dated 11 February 2018
  • Letter from Character Witness 1, Head Teacher, School B, dated 14 February 2018
  • Response to NOI dated 30 January 2018
  • Additional information from Teacher, dated 3 March 2018
  • Response to Interim Report, dated 28 January 2019
  • Response to NOPC, dated 23 September 2019
  • Letter from Disclosure and Barring Service, dated 26 February 2018

Servicing Officer’s Hearing Papers

  • Procedural Hearing Decision, dated 26 May 2020
  • Notice of Full Hearing dated 8 March 2021 with delivery receipt.

Summary of Evidence

The Hearing was held in private. The Panel heard evidence from Witness 1, Witness 2, and the Teacher. In addition, the Presenting Officer relied on a statement of Colleague 1.

Witness 1

Witness 1 had been a Teaching Support Assistant at the school at the time of the incident referred to in the allegation. Prior to coming to the United Kingdom, Witness 1 worked in administrative posts in a hospital in Australia. She had not had any training in education prior to starting work at the school in early 2017. She did not have a particularly good recollection of events and indicated that her contemporaneous statements were the best source of her recollection.

Witness 1 and another assistant, Colleague 1, had been assisting the Teacher with a lesson for a child, Pupil A. Witness 1 could remember that the classroom was referred to as ‘the nest’ but could remember little about the layout of it. The Teacher was responsible for the lesson plan. Witness 1 could not remember much about the plan, although she did recall that they had been working on the letter ‘I’. Pupil A had been working well during the lesson. However, towards the end of the lesson Pupil A had been throwing foam puzzle pieces, pretending they were ‘Ninja stars’. He was also running around the classroom instead of helping to clear up. Witness 1 said there were no fishing rods in the room. She could not recall Pupil A karate kicking. She could not recall him banging his head on the floor. Witness 1 said Pupil A was being ‘silly’ but did not think he was in a particularly heightened state before the incident (though he was afterwards).

Witness 1 said that the Teacher had intervened when Pupil A was misbehaving. Witness 1 said that during the incident Pupil A had his back to her and the Teacher was facing her. The Teacher  initially held Pupil A by the hands or wrists. Pupil A had ‘sort of pushed off against her thigh.’ At that point, the Teacher  became angry. The Teacher grabbed Pupil A by the shoulders, shook him, got down to the ground at his face level, and yelled in his face, ‘What a naughty boy’. Witness 1 accepted that Pupil A was trying to get free from the Teacher, but she did not accept that what appeared to be shaking might have been Pupil A trying to get free. Pupil A did get free and then ran to the kitchen. Witness 1 could not recall the Teacher using any diversion or de-escalation techniques with Pupil A. She had some recollection of taking Pupil A to reception to be collected by his grandmother, although her accounts differed as to who assisted her in this task. Witness 1 recalled playing rock, paper, scissors at reception to calm Pupil A down.

A short while later, having reflected on matters, Witness 1 decided to report the matter to the head of the middle school. The head of the middle school was not available so Witness 1 reported it to Witness 2, who was the deputy head. Witness 1 described the events to Witness 2. Witness 2 took Witness 1 to the school gym and asked her to write out a statement, which she did. Witness 2 asked Witness 1 not to speak to Colleague 1. Witness 1 said that restraint should only be used as a last resort, if the child presents a risk to their own safety or the safety of others. She ultimately accepted in cross-examination that she had probably not been trained in restraint techniques at the time of the incident.

 

Witness 2

Witness 2 was Deputy Head Teacher at the school and the Teacher’s line manager. She described the induction process at the school. She explained that the Teacher  had been through the school’s induction process, that she had received safeguarding training but that she had not received ‘Team Teach’ training, which included training about the use of restraints. The Teacher had been unable to attend the ‘Team Teach’ training as she had been booked on another training course. Witness 2 said that the Teacher had been given a briefing and updates and shown a couple of holds that the primary children needed occasionally, but she had been advised not to get involved in holding unless necessary. Pupil A had a positive handling plan, which included plans for restraint. However, hands on restraint is a last resort, particularly with very young children. With a child like Pupil A, the first course of action would be to take him to the playground to allow him to run around.

Witness 2 explained that on the day in question Witness 1 reported certain concerns about the way the Teacher had dealt with an incident involving Pupil A. Witness 2 gave evidence about her recollection of what Witness 1 had said. Witness 2 asked Witness 1 and Colleague 1 to write up statements about what had happened but not to speak to one another. Witness 2 explained that, following the incident, she took advice and was told to suspend the Teacher as a precaution, which she did. Witness 2 described that as very upsetting.

Witness 2 accepted that Pupil A was prone to spontaneous and violent outbursts, which could be triggered by relatively trivial events. Witness 2 expressed the view that there had been no need to deal with the situation in the way that the Teacher had dealt with it. Witness 2 said that the Teacher  should only have attempted to intervene if Pupil A was in serious danger of hurting himself and restraint was the only option. The Teacher should have attempted to distract Pupil A, perhaps removed the foam puzzle pieces, and perhaps tried to get him into the sensory room next door or into the playground. If Pupil A had been banging his head, the Teacher should have called for assistance. Witness 2 stated that it is never acceptable to shake a child.

Witness 2 accepted that she had formed her opinion on the basis of what she had been told by Witness 1. Witness 2 had been under the impression that Witness 1 had had experience working with children in Australia prior to starting work at the school. Witness 2 accepted that Witness 1 may not have been employed if the school had been aware of her true level of experience. Witness 2 could not recall fishing rods in the classroom.  

Colleague 1

The Panel understood that Colleague 1 was another Teaching Support Assistant at the school at the material time. He provided a statement shortly after the incident. However, he did not provide a statement for the purposes of the hearing and was not called to give evidence because he could not be traced.

In the statement provided shortly after the event, Colleague 1 said that he had been in ‘the nest’ helping another member of staff (presumably Witness 1) support Pupil A. The Teacher  came in with some ‘moon dust’ which, in Colleague 1’s opinion, disrupted the lesson. Pupil A began throwing the foam puzzle pieces around. The Teacher took the puzzle pieces from  Pupil A and held his hands. Colleague 1 initially used the word ‘arms’ but then scored it out. Colleague 1 said Pupil A tried to wriggle away and may have scratched himself. This caused Pupil A to put his leg on the Teacher’s left leg, after which the Teacher began to handle him roughly, ‘trying to restrain him and shaking him angrily’.

In a supplementary note to his statement, apparently prepared in the course of the local investigation, Colleague 1 said, among other things, that, ‘he felt [the Teacher’s] actions were completely unnecessary and his main concern is, if they had not been there then [the Teacher] could have done something further such as a smack on the hand.’

The Teacher

The Teacher gave some evidence about the school and about Pupil A.

The Teacher was employed in the primary section of the school. The primary section of the school is a small referral unit catering for pupils who have been permanently excluded from their primary schools. There was also a senior school but the Teacher had no involvement with that. She explained that she had been responsible for hiring Witness 1. Witness 1 had started employment shortly before Easter and had then taken some time off after Easter to have a medical procedure. She was accordingly relatively new when the incident occurred. The Teacher had not had much of a chance to form any relationship with Witness 1. Witness 1 had not received training in ‘Team Teach’ prior to the incident.

Insofar as her own training was concerned, the Teacher explained that she received safeguarding training during her induction but that she had not received ‘Team Teach’ training. The school had asked her to go on a two day nurture training course, which clashed with the ‘Team Teach’ course. The Teacher  had been concerned about missing the ‘Team Teach’ course but Witness 2 told her not to worry as they would re-arrange it. The Teacher had previously done CALM training, which teaches de-escalation techniques and avoiding conflict. But she had had no formal training in the use of restraint at that time. On one occasion she was shown how to restrain a child to avoid him biting. She has since had ‘Team Teach’ training.

Insofar as Pupil A was concerned, The Teacher explained that he had a lot of problems but was making progress. The Teacher had visited Pupil A’s family home and had formed a relationship with his grandmother. He was one of a small number of pupils who displayed no warning signs before changes in his mood.  

Turning to the incident, the Teacher explained that she had prepared a lesson for Pupil A which involved multiple sensory experiences. The lesson took place in ‘the nest’, which had previously been used as a science room for the senior school. It contained some soft play cushions and mats but also some chairs and tables. It was not a soft play area. The lesson had been going well but part way through the Teacher  had to leave for about 20 minutes to carry out an observation of a trainee teacher.

After carrying out the observation, she returned with some ‘moon dust’ for use in the lesson with Pupil A who began  to get excited and began throwing foam pieces around. Pupil A was running around, barging into her and Witness 1. He tried to run out of the room but the Teacher blocked his way. Pupil A started ‘Kung Fu chopping and kicking’. The Teacher explained to him that his behaviour was unacceptable, and in doing so she used the word ‘naughty’ because he would understand that. She did, to her regret, raise her voice. She put her hands on Pupil A’s shoulders and got down to his level. At that point he was kicking and butting. The Teacher used diversion and de-escalation techniques and he calmed down and completed the planned lesson, which included playing a game where Pupil A had to use a bamboo fishing rod with a net on the end to ‘fish’ for letters. Pupil A calmed down sufficiently that Colleague 1 was able to leave, leaving the Teacher and Witness 1 with Pupil A.

However, Pupil A again became restless and uncontrolled. He was running round with the fishing rods, butting and punching, banging off the walls and karate kicking. He began kicking the Teacher  and then he lay down on a bean bag, where he waved the fishing rods. The Teacher was concerned that he might poke himself in the eye with the fishing rods so she removed them from him. Pupil A then began banging his head off the ground. The Teacher intervened to bring him gently to his feet. However, he then continued with his uncontrolled behaviour. Though she had removed the fishing rods from him, the Teacher  was still worried because there were lots of other dangers in the classroom, including sharp edges on furniture. Pupil A had no awareness of danger. The Teacher  again tried diversion and de-escalation techniques but they were unsuccessful this time.

Pupil A tried to get out of ‘the nest’ but the Teacher stood in his way. This resulted in Pupil A repeatedly hitting, kicking, and butting the Teacher. The Teacher wanted to calm him down. There was nobody around who could provide assistance. She had to make an educated decision quickly. She held him by the wrists, and again got down to his level. She then put her hands on the top of his arms to try to explain to him that he was behaving dangerously. She denied shaking or pulling him. She explained that Pupil A was trying to pull away from her and that he was moving his body and arms while doing so. The Teacher  then decided to take Pupil A to the kitchen to get him ready to go home. In the course of this, Pupil A ran off and began behaving in an uncontrolled way again. The Teacher was concerned for his safety because older pupils were using the playground to play basketball. He was still over-excited but became more controlled. The Teacher and Witness 1 took Pupil A back to reception, where he was due to be picked up by his grandmother. The Teacher  and his grandmother had a discussion. Pupil A ran into the Teacher’s arms and gave her a hug. He then left with his grandmother and his little brother.

The Teacher explained that, with the benefit of hindsight, there were certain things she would have done differently. For example, she would have made sure that she had access to ‘on-call’, and she would have made sure there was someone who was ‘Team Teach’ trained in the room. She would also have taken some of the content out of the lesson given that she knew she was going to have to carry out an observation of a trainee teacher. She would also not raise her voice, even if she was being hurt. However, she denied that the restraint she used was in any way inappropriate or unnecessary. She had reached the conclusion that Pupil A could get hurt and so she decided she needed to intervene. She accepted that it would not usually be appropriate to restrain a pupil by holding their wrists. On this occasion she held Pupil A by the hands to stop him hurting himself. She stated that shaking is always inappropriate. She refuted the suggestion that she had lost control. The Teacher said she kept Pupil A safe, which had been her aim.   

Presenting Officer’s Submissions

The Presenting Officer noted that the burden of proof rested on him to prove the allegation on the balance of probabilities. He began his submissions by inviting the Panel to admit the statement of Colleague 1, even though it was hearsay evidence. He referred to some relevant authorities. He explained that numerous attempts had been made to contact Colleague 1 but without success. He submitted that Colleague 1’s evidence was not the sole and decisive evidence in the case. The Presenting Officer invited the Panel to find Witness 1 to be a credible and reliable witness.

Insofar as the allegation was concerned, he submitted that the dispute was narrow: it is whether the Teacher used inappropriate and unnecessary restraint in what she did. He submitted that grabbing Pupil A by the wrists and shaking him would never be appropriate. Accordingly, if the Panel found  that the Teacher did grab Pupil A by the wrists and shake him then it would follow that what she did was inappropriate and unnecessary. The Teacher’s actions would have been inappropriate even if she had been fully trained. The absence of training may be relevant to later stages. The Presenting Officer submitted that the version of the facts he invited the Panel to find proved was  supported by the evidence of Witness 1 and Colleague 1. It was  also supported by Witness 2’s evidence. The Presenting Officer submitted that it was not credible to think that two people made up a story about the Teacher shaking Pupil A.

The Presenting Officer invited the Panel to find the allegation proved on the balance of probabilities.

Teacher’s Submissions

On behalf of the Teacher, her Representative emphasised that this was a serious allegation against an experienced teacher with an unblemished record. It is inherently improbable that the Teacher  would have over-reacted in the way suggested by Witness 1. There should be clear and cogent evidence before these facts can be found established on the balance of probabilities.

The Teacher’s Representative submitted that Witness 1’s evidence was neither credible nor reliable. There was a pattern to her evidence. She sought to offer a tight and limited narrative of events. When asked questions going beyond that tight and limited narrative of events, she responded by saying she could not recall what had happened. That indicated she had an agenda and should give the Panel cause for concern. There were significant variations in the different accounts Witness 1 has given of the incident. Witness 1’s position was that her account given immediately after the incident should be preferred, but even that contained significant errors, for example in relation to timing. There was no independent evidence to support Witness 1’s account.

The Teacher’s Representative also submitted that Witness 2 was not an impressive witness. She lacked clarity in her evidence. She struggled to answer questions where a clear response would be expected. She relied on Witness 1’s account of events but she was in error regarding Witness 1’s level of experience. She could not confirm basic information about Witness 1’s time at the school, including her start date and her training. Witness 2 initially maintained that Witness 1 had been ‘Team Teach’ trained at the time of the event but seemed to accept that that was not the case when confronted with Witness 1’ words. When asked to amplify her criticisms of the Teacher, those criticisms related largely to administrative matters, not to any suggestion that she handled children inappropriately.

Insofar as Colleague 1 was concerned, the Teacher’s Representative did not take any objection to the admissibility of his statement. However, he submitted that the Panel should attach no weight to it in the circumstances. He submitted that there was no evidence as to Colleague 1’s training or level of expertise. There were questions arising from Colleague 1’s statement that it had not been possible to ask him about. The notes of interviews during the investigatory process suggested that Colleague 1 demonstrated the Teacher’s actions but the investigating officer had not been called to give evidence. In any event, Colleague 1’s main concern appeared  to have been that the Teacher  could have done something further such as smack Pupil A on the hand. That suggested  that what happened was less serious than a smack on the hand yet Witness 1’s evidence was of events much more serious than that.

The Teacher’s Representative  submitted that the Teacher’s evidence stood in stark contrast to the other evidence in the case. The Teacher answered all the questions she was asked. She was undeniably genuine in her engagement. Her demeanour was appropriate. Her evidence painted  a picture of a competent and dedicated teacher. The event which occurred was more complex than the simplistic picture painted by Witness 1. The Teacher’s Representative invited the Panel to consider the questions relating to credibility and reliability in the Practice Statement on Fact-finding in Fitness to Teach Conduct Cases. He invited the Panel to find that the Teacher was a credible and reliable witness.

He invited the Panel to find that the allegation had not been proved. 

Findings of Fact

The Panel gave careful consideration to all of the evidence presented and to the submissions made by the parties in making its findings of fact on the allegations. The Panel had in mind that the burden of proof rested on the Presenting Officer and that the standard of proof required is that used in civil proceedings, namely the balance of probabilities.

As is clear from the narration of the evidence, there were clear conflicts in the evidence. Accordingly, the Panel carefully considered the credibility and reliability of each of the witnesses. Insofar as Witness 1 was concerned, the Panel noted that she had a very limited recall of events. The statements made by her at different times were  inconsistent in material respects. She was inexperienced, untrained and relatively unfamiliar with Pupil A. The Panel formed the view that Witness 1 had rationalised events to fit her conclusion that the Teacher had behaved inappropriately. Witness 1 misinterpreted what she saw. The Panel was not prepared to put any weight on Witness 1’s evidence, unless it was supported by other evidence.

Insofar as the other witnesses were concerned, the Panel was satisfied that Witness 2 was trying to tell the truth, but she did not witness the events. Instead, she relied on Witness 1’s interpretation of events. Accordingly, the Panel placed no weight on Witness 2’s evidence insofar as it related to the incident described in the allegation. Colleague 1’s statement contained material which was controversial and which would have benefitted from examination in oral evidence. For example, there was  a conflict in the evidence about when Colleague 1 left the room. In the circumstances, the Panel was not prepared to place any weight on his evidence unless it was supported by other evidence in the case. The Panel did, however, agree with the Teacher’s Representative’s submission that Colleague 1’s suggestion that he was concerned that the situation might escalate tended to support the conclusion that Witness 1 had exaggerated events. 

Turning to the Teacher’s ’s evidence, the Panel found her to be a credible and reliable witness. She gave a generally consistent account of events. She had a better recollection of events than Witness 1. Significantly, she had much more knowledge of Pupil A than did Witness 1. This was a highly stressful situation. The Teacher had a better understanding of it than Witness 1. The Teacher was better placed to understand the risks. In any event, she genuinely believed that Pupil A was at risk of causing harm to himself. The Teacher  attempted to answer all the questions she was asked and in particular she attempted to recall all parts of the event. She accepted that she may have handled the situation better in some respects. Accordingly, where the Teacher’s  evidence differed from that of the other witnesses, the Panel preferred the Teacher’s evidence.

Accordingly, the Panel found in fact as follows.

The lesson took place in ‘the nest’. The lesson had been going well but part way through the Teacher had to leave to carry out an observation of a trainee teacher. After carrying out the observation, she returned with some ‘moon dust’ for use in the lesson with Pupil A who began to get excited and began throwing foam puzzle pieces around. Pupil A was running around, barging into the Teacher and Witness 1. He tried to run out of the room but the Teacher blocked his way. Pupil A was acting in an uncontrolled manner. The Teacher raised her voice and told Pupil A that he was being ‘naughty’. She put her hands on Pupil A’s shoulders and got down to his level. At that point he was kicking and butting. Pupil A calmed down sufficiently that the lesson could continue. The Panel concluded Colleague 1 probably left the lesson at this time. 

Shortly after that, Pupil A again became restless and uncontrolled. He was running round butting and punching. He had a fishing rod in his hand. He began kicking the Teacher and then he lay down on a bean bag, where he waved the fishing rod. The Teacher was concerned for Pupil A’s safety so she removed the fishing rods from him. Pupil A then began banging his head off the ground. The Teacher  intervened to bring him to his feet. The Teacher did so in a controlled manner. Pupil A then continued with his uncontrolled behaviour. Though she had removed the fishing rods from him, the Teacher  was still worried because there were lots of other dangers in the classroom, including sharp edges on furniture. Pupil A had no awareness of danger. The Teacher again tried diversion and de-escalation techniques but they were unsuccessful this time.

Pupil A tried to get out of ‘the nest’ but the Teacher stood in his way. Pupil A repeatedly hit, kicked, and butted the Teacher. The Teacher wanted to calm him down. She held – but did not grab – him by the wrists, and again got down to his level. She then put her hands on the top of his arms to try to explain to him that he was behaving dangerously. Pupil A was trying to pull away from her. From Witness 1’s perspective, that may have looked like shaking. Having calmed the situation down sufficiently, the Teacher decided to take Pupil A to the kitchen to get him ready to go home. In the course of this, however, Pupil A ran off and began behaving in an uncontrolled way again. However, those events do not form part of the allegation and it is unnecessary to make detailed findings about them.

The Teacher faced a difficult situation in which she had to exercise her professional judgment. The Teacher had to make a quick decision as to whether it was better to intervene or to let Pupil A keep acting in the way he was. The Panel considered that, in the circumstances as they were and as the Teacher genuinely understood them to be, it was necessary for her to intervene. She did so because of concerns about Pupil A’s safety. The Panel had some concerns about holding Pupil A by the wrists. However, the Panel did not accept that the Teacher ‘grabbed’ Pupil A by the wrists. Rather, her actions were at all times controlled and as gentle as possible. The Panel did not accept that the Teacher shook Pupil A at any point. In the circumstances, her actions were appropriate.

For those reasons, the Panel did not accept that the Teacher grabbed Pupil A by the wrist or shook him or pulled him roughly, and it could not be said that what she did was in any way inappropriate or unnecessary. Accordingly, the Panel found the allegation not proved.

Anonymity

As noted at the outset of this determination, the question of anonymity had been continued to the Full Hearing. In light of the Panel’s decision, the Teacher’s Representative moved for the decision to be anonymised insofar as the Teacher is concerned. He referred to Rule 1.7.3(b) of the Rules. He referred to a report from Medical Practitioner 1 dated 25 April 2020. He submitted that there is a severe diagnosis and that Medical Practitioner 1 had concluded that publication of any decision would be likely to be detrimental to the Teacher’s [redacted] health. The Presenting Officer did not oppose the application. He accepted that, in light of the medical background and the finding, anonymisation was appropriate. He also asked for the school to be anonymised.

The Panel noted that at a Procedural Hearing on 26 May 2020, a differently constituted Panel had determined, among other things, that the Full Hearing should be held in private but had continued the application for anonymisation to the Full Hearing on the basis that this Panel would be better placed to make the decision. Medical Practitioner 1’s report is clear that were the Teacher to be named in any published decision that would ‘present significant stress and challenge to her’ and that it would be ‘highly likely to be detrimental to her [redacted] health’ [redacted] In light of Medical Practitioner 1’s opinion, as well as the decision on the allegation, the Panel considered that it was appropriate to grant the application for anonymisation. The Panel also agreed that the school should be anonymised.

Given the Panel’s decision on anonymity, a view was taken that this anonymity should be conferred on all published decisions relating to this case. Therefore the Panel agreed that the Teacher’s name should be anonymised in the Full Hearing decision, the Procedural Hearing decision from 26 May 2020 and the Virtual Hearing Application decision from 14 October 2020.