Last month, Gurpreet Rheel successfully defended a teacher charged with serious misconduct, resulting in her client being permitted to continue to teach.
The case involved serious allegations of a teacher having failed to maintain appropriate professional standards with a pupil by sending messages to that pupil (via email and telephone) in respect of matters unrelated to School. Despite the teacher having received a final written warning for this behaviour, such messages continued to take place, however this time, with the pupil being provided with the teacher’s personal email address and/or personal telephone number to continue contact during the School holidays.
Despite the panel having determined that there had been unacceptable professional conduct and/or conduct to bring the profession into disrepute, the panel accepted the submissions presented by Gurpreet that such conduct did not extend to any abuse of position of trust and that the apparently inappropriate use of certain language contained within the emails could be misinterpreted by somebody reading the evidence. On this basis, the panel were prepared to accept that the nature and severity of the behaviour were at the less serious end of the possible spectrum.
When considering the mitigation presented by the teacher through his examination in chief and Gurpreet’s closing submissions, the panel found the teacher’s evidence to be credible and formed the view that he gave honest, reliable and consistent answers to all questions put to him. Furthermore, the panel noted his genuine remorse and that he fully recognised the impact of his behaviour. A prohibition order was therefore not considered by the panel to be proportionate or appropriate.
Gurpreet continues to welcome instructions in relation to teacher disciplinary hearings and is able to use her previous experience of working for a leading teacher’s Union to attune her advice and approach to cases accordingly. For further information, please contact Matt Fleming, Practice Manager.