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King's Lynn teacher banned from classroom for misconduct

By Lynn News Reporter

A teacher has been banned from the country’s classrooms for life for misconduct at a South Lynn school.

Karen Owen, 57, who taught at the St Michael’s Church of England Primary Academy, was struck off after a Teaching Regulation Agency (TRA) panel found her guilty of unacceptable professional conduct that could bring the teaching profession into disrepute.

The tribunal heard that she had stood on a boy’s foot, screamed and shouted in front of vulnerable pupils and failed to fully undertake her pupil safe-guarding duties.

St Michael's Cof E Academy South Lynn.. (20470730)
St Michael's Cof E Academy South Lynn.. (20470730)

Mrs Owen had been at the school since April 2015 and was teacher in charge of the Special Resources Base which caters for pupils with behavioural and emotional needs

She had denied the allegations against her. However, the panel found that she had:

touched the heads of two pupils and also the face of one of them while he was eating;

stood on the foot of one of them;

shouted and screamed at one of them;

shouted and screamed in the presence of pupils on more than one occasion;

failed to act on safeguarding concerns raised in respect of another pupil;

failed to maintain accurate child protection/safeguarding records and

exposed pupils to the risk of potential harm.

In their findings, running to nearly 6,000 words, the panel said that, in the light of them finding all the allegations proved, they were “satisfied that the conduct of Mrs Owen amounted to misconduct of a serious nature which fell significantly short of the standards expected of the profession.”

They added: “Mrs Owen’s conduct amounted to both unacceptable professional conduct and conduct that may bring the profession into disrepute.”

Often in TRA striking off cases, a time limit is set after which the teacher can seek to have the ban lifted provided they can prove to another panel that they are fit to return to teaching.

However, in this case the panel said a ban would be both “appropriate and proportionate” and recommended that itshould be a permanent one.

They said Mrs Owen had “displayed no insight into the impact of her physical and emotional actions against particularly vulnerable pupils” and that this meant there would be some risk of a repetition of such behaviour.

They said their findings “involved serious safeguarding concerns” and that there was “a strong public interest consideration in respect of the protection of pupils, given the serious findings of inappropriate physical contact with pupils and the lack of proper record keeping.”

Imposing the ban on behalf of the Education Secretary, TRA decision maker Dawn Dandy said : “I have concluded that a prohibition order is proportionate and in the public interest in order to achieve the intended aims of a prohibition order.”

And, ordering that there should be no provision for the ban to be reviewed in the future with view to it possibly being lifted, she said : “I consider therefore that allowing for no review period is necessary to maintain public confidence and is proportionate and in the public interest.”

"It is open to Mrs Owen to mount a High Court challenge to the findings and the ban.”

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