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Former teacher at Francis Combe School who swore at students found guilty of unprofessional conduct
11:30am Tuesday 13th December 2011 in News
A teacher at a Watford school, who swore at pupils, told one ginger haired boy to “stop being ginger” and compiled a “fit list” of teachers with one of his classes, has been spared punishment by his professional body.
The General Teaching Council’s Professional Conduct Committee found Nathan Woodville guilty of “unacceptable professional conduct” while employed at Francis Combe School as subject leader for geography.
However, it decided to impose no sanction, finding that he was a newly qualified teacher when he joined the school in 2007, and that he had re-established his professional reputation since joining Lea Valley High School in Enfield.
The Committee said that, on October 6 2008, Mr Woodville acted inappropriately and unprofessionally in compiling a "fit list" of teachers, with students. The findings say that the list was “derogatory to colleagues”.
The Committee also found that he compiled the list of attractive teachers with a Year 7 class, describing one colleague as having “a really good body". It rejected his claim that the list was actually a list of the class’ favourite teachers.
The findings also say that he “repeatedly used inappropriate language in front of students”, with pupils claiming he swore in front of them.
He admitted that he used inappropriate language in class, including, terms such as “you are pissing me off”, and words like “bloody” and “arse.”
However the Committee said it was not necessary to determine exactly which words he used, adding: “All are equally inappropriate.
It said that he also lost his temper with a Year 9 group of students, throwing and breaking a computer mouse, leaving his wallet on the table, telling the students his PIN number and then walking out of the classroom, and made a derogatory comment to a student about the colour of his hair.
Mr Woodville admitted saying to the boy: “Sit down and stop being ginger”.
The findings say he also made inappropriate comments to a member of staff about their sexuality at a school social function.
Committee chair Kim Tyrell said: “As Mr Woodville himself has accepted when giving evidence, his conduct was entirely inappropriate and unprofessional. By behaving as he did he not only brought the profession into disrepute but also failed to afford proper respect to his pupils and colleagues.
“The misconduct which brought Mr Woodville before the Committee is undoubtedly serious. His actions had the potential to damage not only his own reputation but also the reputations of his school and the profession at large and to adversely affect pupil development.
“However, the Committee accepts that Mr Woodville was placed in a difficult and stressful situation by his appointment as subject leader in his first year as a fully qualified teacher.
“From the outset, Mr Woodville has admitted that his misconduct was entirely inappropriate and unprofessional and reflected poorly not only on himself but on the teaching profession as a whole. He has shown insight into his failures and has expressed remorse for them.
“The Committee is left in no doubt that he has learned from his mistakes and is now a far more mature individual who is most unlikely to repeat his mistakes.”
She said that, in the three years since moving on from Francis Combe School, he had “re-established his professional reputation in the classroom” and had organised charity events which served to enhance the reputation of the teaching profession in the eyes of the public.
She added: “That being so, the Committee has concluded that this is a case which does not require it to impose a sanction. In the exceptional circumstances of this case, the finding of unacceptable professional conduct alone is sufficient to set and maintain proper standards of conduct and behaviour and adequately protect the reputation of the teaching profession.”
Mr Woodville has the right of appeal to High Court within 28 days.