Biddulph teacher banned for secretly drinking wine while giving lessons

  Posted: 09.06.21 at 19:27 by Jack Lenton

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A teacher from Biddulph has been banned after she was caught giving lessons while drinking a bottle of wine throughout the school day.

Vanessa Summers, aged 41, from Knypersley, taught at St Wilfrid’s Catholic Academy in Tunstall, and has been found guilty of "unacceptable professional conduct" by the Teaching Regulation Agency.

Mrs Summers had taught at the school since 2008, but resigned in 2019 after an investigation was launched.

A report published by the agency today (Wednesday, 9th June) found that on 18 September 2019, Mrs Summers was teaching a year 3 class "when colleagues observed that her eyes were glazed, she was swaying, her walk was unsteady and she repeatedly left the classroom".

An individual, who is kept anonymous in the report, asked Mrs Summers if she had been drinking, which she denied.

However, the individual then found an empty wine bottle in Mrs Summers' handbag, and again asked her if she had been drinking, which she then admitted.

She resigned the following day and an investigatory meeting took place a further five days later, with Mrs Summers admitting that she had brought the bottle onto school premises and drunk from it throughout the school day.

Only a few days later, on 27 September 2019, Mrs Summers was caught four times over the drink-drive limit while picking up a child from a different school in Biddulph.

An individual noticed that she appeared to be drunk while picking up the child, and when it appeared that she was going to drive, they took away her car keys and reported her to the police.

She was arrested and charged with being in charge of a motor vehicle with excess alcohol and being drunk in charge of a child.

On 28 November 2019, Mrs Summers appeared in Staffordshire Magistrates’ Court where she pleaded guilty and was convicted of both offences. Mrs Summers was fined and disqualified from driving for 12 months.

As part of their report, the agency concluded that the drink driving conviction was relevant to her duties as a teacher.

Mrs Summers did not attend the agency's meeting, but admitted the allegations and in a statement said she had been suffering from personal problems and emotional difficulties at the time. She also said she felt isolated and had not been properly supported in her role.

Mrs Summers has now been banned from teaching with a two-year review period, meaning she will be able to apply to have the ban lifted in 2023 at the earliest.

If you would like to read the agency's report in full click here.

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