Page last updated at 17:11 GMT, Monday, 1 February 2010

Christian supply teacher in prayer row may return

A Christian supply teacher from Weston-super-Mare who was suspended after offering to pray for a sick pupil has been given a chance to return to work.

Part-time maths teacher Olive Jones, 54, said at the time the girl was too poorly for a lesson so she spoke to her about her belief in miracles instead.

But the girl's mother said they were not believers and made a complaint.

North Somerset Council said it had now agreed that it can be appropriate for a teacher to offer to share their faith.

Mrs Jones, who worked with North Somerset Tuition Service, was suspended while an investigation took place.

She worked part-time at the Oak Hill Short Stay School and Tuition Service in Nailsea, near Bristol, for almost five years, did not have a formal contract and has not worked for them since the incident on 25 November.

'Highly regarded'

A council spokeswoman said that following a meeting with Mrs Jones it was agreed that it can be appropriate for a teacher to offer to share their faith with a pupil or family.

But she added: "However, a careful professional judgement needs to be made as to whether this is appropriate and indeed acceptable to the person and family concerned.

"Olive also agreed that she would respect either the wishes of a family and/or guidance from a manager not to discuss faith matters with a particular pupil or family."

The spokeswoman said Mrs Jones's teaching was "highly regarded" and that she had now been offered further work through the council's tuition service in Weston-super-Mare.

Mrs Jones, who is originally from Llanteg in Pembrokeshire, had asked the girl's mother whether she could say a prayer, but insisted that she did not go ahead when she was told they were not believers.

The girl's mother complained that Mrs Jones' comments had distressed her and her child.

A spokeswoman for the Christian Legal Centre, which supported Mrs Jones throughout the process said that "common sense had prevailed".



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