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Ex-teacher banned for hitting vulnerable pupils at special school

By Jordan Reynolds | Walsall | Education | Published:

An ex-special needs teacher has been banned from teaching indefinitely for hitting vulnerable pupils and "mocking" colleagues at a Walsall school.

A Google image of the school

Elaine Housley, 61, taught at Old Hall Special School from September 2015 until March 2017, when she was suspended over reports of "inappropriate and unprofessional behaviour".

A disciplinary hearing took place on February 6 2018, which determined that Mrs Housley's conduct amounted to gross misconduct and she was dismissed.

In one incident Mrs Housley was witnessed "hitting or slapping" a pupil in response to him throwing food on the floor, a Teaching Regulation Agency panel found.

Another witness described a "poor working relationship" with Mrs Housley, saying she "mocked" her and "targeted her anxiety as a weakness".

In another incident a pupil tried to bite Mrs Housley, who reacted by "taking Pupil A's hand and making it into a fist before forcing it towards his mouth".

The panel's report adds: "Mrs Housley had said words to the effect of '…you bite yourself, you don’t bite me'."

A third witness told of how the former teacher used the clothed arms of two pupils to mop up water which they had deliberately spilt.

One of these pupils has autism and an "aversion to water", which causes him to go "beserk" and strip off if he even gets a tear on his top from crying.

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Mrs Housley had been witnessed calling pupils "lazy" and/or "a big baby", and saying "I want her to fall to the floor" about a pupil leaning back on a chair, and "put your legs under the table before I break them" when one would not sit down.

Mrs Housley was also found to push a pupil in the back with two hands "forcefully", hit one over the head with a blind as he was pulling it up and down, and use one pupil's hand/arm to his another pupil.

But allegations of Mrs Housley pulling a pupil by the hood of his coat, rubbing alcohol gel into a cut on a pupil's face, and saying "'I'd beat him black and blue if he was mine, I would have a wooden paddle for him" were not proved. And there was no evidence of any "substantial physical harm" to any pupils.

Mrs Housley had denied all of the allegations.

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The report said: "In the light of the panel’s findings against Mrs Housley, which involved her inappropriate and unprofessional use of force against a number of children in her class, there was a strong public interest consideration in respect of the protection of pupils.

"Similarly, in the light of repeated and inappropriate comments made against three pupils, public confidence in the profession could be seriously weakened if conduct such as that found against Mrs Housley were not treated with the utmost seriousness when regulating the conduct of the profession."

Mrs Housley can apply for the order to be set aside in 2021.

Walsall Council has been asked to comment.

Jordan Reynolds

By Jordan Reynolds
Reporter - @jreynolds_star

Senior reporter at the Express & Star.

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