Page last updated at 16:05 GMT, Friday, 25 September 2009 17:05 UK

Bully teacher banned for one year


The hearing was told that 15 children were subjected to very, very unkind behaviour

A primary school teacher who bullied pupils so badly that some showed signs of psychological abuse has been found guilty of professional misconduct.

The General Teaching Council for Wales in Cardiff heard Joanna Hyde's teaching style was "dominated by negativity".

Ms Hyde, 27, was a Year 5 teacher at the Welsh medium Ysgol y Berllan Deg in Llanedeyrn, Cardiff.

She was suspended for one year and must train in positive behaviour management before being allowed to re-register.

The panel heard she threw a book at one pupil, and called another a "wimp".

One pupil was so intimidated he asked his mother to dye his red hair brown so he would be less noticeable to Ms Hyde, the hearing was told.

It heard that Ms Hyde also persisted in getting pupils to fill in a behaviour chart in the classroom despite it being against school policy, the panel heard.

She clearly had favourite pupils and the rest of the class was not given an opportunity to ask questions.
Head teacher Mari Phillips

Ms Hyde did not attend the hearing and was not represented, but she admitted in writing her behaviour amounted to unacceptable professional conduct.

The panel found that she refused to comply with reasonable instruction and showed conduct incompatible with the ethos of the school in relation to not removing the behaviour chart.

It also found that she displayed inappropriate behaviour or conduct, and bullying or intimidating behaviour, towards pupils.

The panel decided there was not enough evidence to prove another allegation that Ms Hyde made deliberate false allegations against colleagues.

Head teacher Mari Phillips gave evidence that Ms Hyde was in her second year of teaching there when concerns were raised and she drew her attention to school policies.

Bed wetting

She said she was approached by concerned parents and teachers, and decided to monitor Ms Hyde's behaviour closely, making regular offers of support and assistance.

Ms Phillips said one parent told her that her daughter was having nightmares about going to school and that she was afraid of Ms Hyde.

Other parents, she said, told her their children had started bed wetting, had lost confidence and had become withdrawn and upset since starting in her class.

Ms Phillips said: "She clearly had favourite pupils and the rest of the class was not given an opportunity to ask questions."

One pupil's mother said he was upset at being sent to the reception class for a day and being told he would be at primary school until he was 16.

Classroom assistants

Two teachers reported being concerned after hearing Ms Hyde call a pupil "a wimp" and "a clown".

One pupil was found clinging on to railings outside school because they were afraid of the teacher and wanted to change schools, said Ms Phillips.

"I offered her help and that's when more concerns were raised, when the classroom assistants went in," Ms Phillips said.

In April 2007 the matter was referred to the Welsh Assembly Government's Independent Investigation Services and the subsequent report recommended a disciplinary hearing.

Ms Hyde did not attend the disciplinary hearing in 2007, but a representative handed in her resignation letter.

That hearing concluded that she would have been dismissed had she not resigned.

Following the hearing, a spokesperson for teachers' union UCAC said: "UCAC has a duty of confidentiality and is not prepared to make a specific statement in line with the wishes of our member.

"UCAC has supported our member throughout this difficult time and was prepared to represent her at the hearing, but due to the fragility of her health she made the difficult decision not to appear and written representations were submitted instead, according to her wishes.

"UCAC is disappointed that reports of the hearing and her actions which we have read so far in the media made no mention of the state of her health, which affected her behaviour at the time.

"She has now left the teaching profession," the spokesperson added.

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