Aberbargoed teacher struck off
11:23am Monday 10th February 2014 in News
A VALLEYS teacher who manhandled a primary school pupil has been struck off the teaching register for a minimum of two years with immediate effect.
Claire Elizabeth Jarrett, 46, was sacked from her job at Aberbargoed Primary School for gross misconduct four years ago.
Allegations she grabbed pupil A, thought to be around five years old, out of a toilet cubicle and pushed his hands under a tap, while not letting him dry them afterwards, were proved by a committee of the General Teaching Council for Wales (GTCW) in Cardiff on Friday.
Ms Jarrett, known as “Liz”, was also found to have shouted at pupil A during a Christmas concert practice, lifted him by the arm and slid him across the floor while his legs were crossed, in December 2009.
There were six allegations in total against three pupils, including one incident admitted by Ms Jarrett in which she told a colleague not to change pupil C who had wet himself, in January, 2010.
She was also found to have tapped pupils A and B on the head with a rolled-up programme during the concert practice, and grabbing pupil A off his bike in a separate incident a month later. But she was found not to have shouted at pupil A before holding him by the wrist and dragging him with his arm held above his head, while continuing to shout at him.
A separate allegation claiming Ms Jarrett had held pupil A by the hood of his coat, which was done up to the neck, pulling it up slightly and then pushing him away, was also not proved.
The committee said Ms Jarrett’s actions did not amount to bullying as they were “not deliberately hurtful”.
Jacquie Turnbull, chairwoman of the committee, said a prohibition order was “necessary to protect pupils and restore public trust”. Ms Jarrett can appeal to the GTCW to get readmitted on to the register in two years' time.
Ms Jarrett, who did not attend the final day of the hearing in Cardiff on Friday, broke down on Thursday as she told the teaching tribunal allegations about her bullying a pupil were not true. She had denied all the allegations apart from one where she admitted preventing a colleague from changing the clothes of another pupil who had wet himself.
Ms Jarrett told the hearing on Thursday: "I have never bullied anyone in my life. I did not bully pupil A. I liked him. He was a lovely little boy."
When asked by the panel how she felt about her job, Ms Jarrett said: "It was something I did for the best part of 20 years and to me it's the best job in the world.
"One of the questions was did I ever get stressed, and I know lots of teachers do, but I didn't get particularly stressed. I absolutely loved it."
Headteacher David Lewis, brought in during 2008 to drive up teaching standards at the school, said he was made aware of colleagues' concerns about Ms Jarrett's behaviour on the last day of term in 2009, but that bad weather closed the school and Caerphilly council for several weeks in January 2010. It was not until February that Ms Jarrett was suspended, and subsequently sacked for gross misconduct.
In May 2010, Ms Jarrett was charged with assault against pupil A by police but no prosecution was ever brought, said Mr Lewis and presenting officer Emma Burns at the hearing earlier in the week.
After two independent Servoca investigations and a disciplinary hearing in July 2010, Ms Jarrett was dismissed. She appealed in May 2012 but was again found to have committed gross misconduct and was sacked. The matter wasn't referred to the GTCW until July last year.