Teacher Prodded Kids With Sticks And Called Them Dumbo

30/11/2010 13:52 | Updated 22 May 2015

TeacherJohn Stephen Hughes, a deputy head teacher at Garth Primary School, near Llangollen, Denbighshire, has been banned from teaching for two years after prodding students with sticks and calling them names such as 'dumbo'.

Hughes was sacked from the school in May 2008, when a female pupil complained to her mother that he had prodded her with a stick. Head teacher Sylvia Clough told a hearing of the Welsh General Teaching Council yesterday that when another pupil reported a similar incident, she instigated a child protection inquiry.

Seventeen youngsters were then interviewed, with five of them claiming Hughes had struck their head or hands with a stick. Seven other pupils alleged he pushed their heads down onto desks, while 11 students said he had held up examples of poor work against good work to embarrass them.

Investigating officers also heard that Hughes had called students names such as 'dumbo', 'twit', 'lump of lard' and 'bird brain', and had thrown school-work into a recycling bin and pencil-cases onto the floor.

In his defence, Hughes, who has been teaching for 36 years, said Sylvia Clough knew he was suffering from stress at the time of the original complaint, but that was not taken into consideration.

He said of the allegations of name calling: 'I used the terms not in a heated manner. It would not have been done in a nasty or aggressive manner.'

Hughes also admitted under cross examination that he used a stick for pointing and had done throughout his career. He argued that whilst he may have prodded the girl who made the original complaint, he only did it so that she would get on with her work.

Handing down his decision to strike Hughes off the teaching register, Chairman Gareth Jones said the committee's decision was based on the evidence given by the children, staff and Mr Hughes himself, adding Hughes should have realised the impact his conduct would have.

He said the Council had considered a reprimand over striking-off, but considered the incidents too serious. He said: 'These were fairly serious incidents of unacceptable professional conduct and we are not satisfied he has shown any insight into his failings nor expressed regret at his actions.'

Hughes can apply to teach again in two years.

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