Teacher who clipped rowdy pupil with book wins battle to save career

Nicola Harley
Regina Hungerford, 56, admitted shouting and slamming a book on the desk of the

A teacher who clipped a rowdy pupil with a book has won a battle to save her career after a court heard losing her would be a "loss".

Regina Hungerford, 56, admitted shouting and slamming a book on the desk of the "provocative and disruptive" teenager as he listened to rap music in her classroom - but always denied hitting his head.

She was cleared on appeal after being charged with assaulting unruly Shane Jenkins, then 17, during her mathematics lesson for pupils with learning difficulties.

But a disciplinary hearing of the Education Workforce Council decided Mrs Hungerford had "acted in an inappropriate way" to the baseball-capped pupil - and ruled she was guilty of professional misconduct.

Mother-of-three Mrs Hungeford pleaded to save her "very rewarding" career after 29 year teaching thousands of children.

The £26,000-a-year teacher admitted shouting and slamming down a notebook next to the the boy at Merthyr Tydfil College in Merthyr Tydfil, South Wales.

Mrs Hungerford, a qualified Girl Guides leader, told the hearing: "I always said that losing my temper wasn't very professional."

She told how the allegations had "ruined her life" and was a "miscarriage of justice" but wanted to save her career.

She was suspended from the teaching register for four months yesterday but told she can return after taking a behaviour management course.

Former colleague Tanya Davies told the hearing: "I found her to be reliable, conscientious, enthusiastic, patient and kind and was respected by her pupils.

"She was a good and tolerant teacher and I never saw her lose her temper."

Council case presenter Carys Williams said: "He had been playing with his mobile phone and was causing disruption.

"Mrs Hungerford accepts she shouted at him and slammed a notebook in front of him but she denied any physical contact.

"But our case is that she entirely lost her temper, shouted at him and hit him with the notebook making contact with his head or his hand.

"He had raised both hands in order to defend himself."

Imposing the ban, Panel chairman Gareth Roberts said: 'There was a momentary lapse of control and in that moment Mrs Hungerford acted in breach of teaching principles.

"It put at risk the public trust in the profession and her conduct fell far short of the standard expected of a registered teacher.

"Pupil A's behaviour was difficult to manage but we have concluded she acted in an inappropriate way."

Mr Roberts said the four-month suspension was an appropriate sanction to "allow her to return to teaching within a short period of time."

He said: "The public interest is in favour of her being able to teach again."

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