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Former Headteacher issued lifetime ban following serious negligence (14 November 2017)

Date: 14/11/2017
Duncan Lewis, Legal News Solicitors, Former Headteacher issued lifetime ban following serious negligence

A former headteacher has been banned from teaching for life after she failed to meet health and safety standards resulting in pupils and staff being put at serious risk.

Paula Hagan, 43, was found guilty of breaching Health and Safety policies at Long Melford Church of England Primary School where she taught from 2014-2015.

Ms Hagan forged documents to say that weekly fire alarm tests had taken place. She also failed to ensure that a risk assessment and personal evacuation was in place at the school and was risking the safety of her pupils and fellow staff as a result.

A teaching conduct panel found her neglect amounted to “serious dishonesty” however; thanks to her “genuine insight and remorse” they suggested the ban could be reviewed.

Representations submitted on Ms Hagan’s behalf claim that she was under both professional and personal pressure at the time of the incident and pointed out that although her behaviour was neglectful, nobody had been hurt.

Mitigating for Ms Hagan, Jonathan Storey highlighted that the case was;

“…an isolated series of incidents in a long and successful career. She has demonstrated genuine insight, reflected and is now a changed person.”

Dawn Dandy, from the National College of Teaching and Leadership, was responsible for determining whether it was in the public interest to impose the ban on Ms Hagan said that she had to consider;

“…the extent to which a prohibition order would maintain public confidence in this profession. The severity of falsifying documents, misleading the school and the governing body was also taken into account.”

However, despite Ms Hagan’s excellent track record and references, Ms Dandy made the decision to ban the former headteacher, saying;

“…I have placed significant weight on the finding of dishonesty and that the panel says this behaviour was repeated on two occasions and placed pupils and staff at significant risk of harm.”

“I have had to consider that the public has a high expectation of professional standards of all teachers. And that failure to impose a prohibition order might be regarded by the public as a failure to uphold those high standards.”

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