Page last updated at 18:45 GMT, Wednesday, 23 April 2008 19:45 UK

Teacher lit cigarette in lesson

Canterbury Steiner School
The school said the teacher was a valued member of staff

A teacher at a private school has been reprimanded after he lit a cigarette and offered it to pupils during a lesson.

In a statement the Canterbury Steiner School, in Chartham, Kent, said Jim McIntee, carried out the act to "positively discourage smoking".

It said he received disciplinary action but was a valued member of staff.

Parent Martin Roche said two or three people had removed their children but most parents trusted the school.

Mr Roche, whose 13-year-old daughter is taught by Mr McIntee, added: "We feel that he did make an error of judgment, but he is a fantastic teacher who has got the welfare and best interests of the children at heart."

There is widespread support for the teacher amongst parents of pupils in the class
Canterbury Steiner School

The independent school, which is based on the teachings of Austrian philosopher Rudolf Steiner, admitted it contravened the smoking laws.

A statement issued by the school on Wednesday said: "The incident was fully investigated by the school and the teacher in question has been subject to disciplinary action that is proportionate in the circumstances.

"He is a highly valued and very experienced member of staff who recognises that his actions, while done to positively discourage smoking, was an error of judgement.

It continued: "There is widespread support for the teacher among parents of pupils in the class and he has the full support of his colleagues.

"As far as the school is concerned - it would like to consider the matter as closed."

The school, which teaches about 240 pupils between the ages of three and 17, charges up to 6,800 a year in fees.

Canterbury City Council said the school would be fined if the smoking regulation was contravened again.

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