Teacher guilty of unprofessional conduct

A SENIOR teacher who left his classes unattended and put children at risk during a trip to the seaside has been found guilty of unacceptable professional conduct.

James Hore

A SENIOR teacher who left his classes unattended and put children at risk during a trip to the seaside has been found guilty of unacceptable professional conduct.

Stephen Greenfield, who taught at Colbayns High School, Clacton, appeared before the General Teaching Council after concerns were raised about his work.

During a professional conduct committee hearing this week it emerged the deputy head of art was late to his classes on “numerous occasions” and missed briefing sessions that meant he was unaware of vital information about school business.

He also failed to provide support programmes for colleagues in the art department after agreeing to take on the responsibility of staff development programmes.

It also emerged that pupils' money given to the teacher for materials went missing and that he put children at risk during a trip to Clacton Pier by leaving them unattended.

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Mr Greenfield, who taught at Colbayns from September 2001 until he resigned in August 2007, admitted the allegations made against him and the panel accepted he had been “under pressure” and had a good history before the trouble started.

However because the failings were across an 18-month period, the panel decided to make a string of conditions on the teacher.

He has now been banned from taking pupils on any off-site trips for four years and is not allowed to be involved with handling money from the youngsters.

The committee issued a statement saying: “We are satisfied that in relation to the facts admitted in particulars one, two and three, Mr Greenfield's conduct fell short of the standard expected of a registered teacher and was a breach of the standards of propriety expected of the profession.”

Mr Greenfield has a right of appeal to the Queen's Bench Division of the High Court within 28 days.

Last night Nick Pavitt, headteacher at Colbayns, said: “Mr Greenfield was a well-liked and popular teacher whose lessons were often good and the school was very disappointed that he should fail in his other professional duties, thus endangering the reputation of the school and putting the health and safety of children at risk.

“We are sorry the matter had to go to the GTC, but feel that the judgement is appropriate to the issues we were concerned about.”

He added: “We wish him well for the future.”

Mr Greenfield was unavailable last night.