Last month three members of Cornwall Street Barristers – David Swinnerton (instructed by Thompsons Solicitors), Gurpreet Rheel (instructed by The Reflective Practice) and Jonathan Storey (instructed by the National Education Union) – represented three of five teachers charged with serious misconduct by the Teaching Regulation Agency in an 11 day Professional Conduct Panel hearing. The case, which involved serious allegations of widespread SATs cheating at a primary school in the North of England, resulted in Gurpreet’s and Jonathan’s clients both being permitted to continue to teach.
In its decision, published yesterday, Gurpreet’s client was described by the panel as a “credible and persuasive witness” who “made a strong favourable impression on the panel”. Of Jonathan’s client, the panel said “it was readily apparent to the panel from its observation of [her] demeanour and through her oral testimony that she has demonstrable insight as to her misconduct and was very remorseful”. The panel accepted both Gurpreet’s and Jonathan’s submissions in relation to several factual disputes, that their clients had operated under duress, and that (applying the case of Wallace v National College of Teaching and Leadership, in which Cornwall Street Associate Member Andrew Faux acted for the successful appellant in the High Court) there was a strong public interest in keeping them in the teaching profession.
Cornwall Street Barristers has an outstanding track record in defending teachers and other professionals against charges brought by their regulators, and enjoys a close partnership with a number of leading teaching unions and law firms practising in the area. Jonathan Storey practises almost exclusively in the field of professional regulation, education and sports law, and regularly accepts instructions from unions, law firms and (through the Bar Public Access Scheme) directly from members of the public as well as sitting as a panellist in cases involving counsellors, psychotherapists and footballers. Gurpreet Rheel’s practice has evolved to one which predominantly focuses on family and civil law but she has gained experience in regulatory matters involving teachers and strives to develop this further. David Swinnerton combines a busy and successful criminal practice with instructions in regulatory matters.