Drunken teacher gets banned from classroom

A TEACHER who drove to work drunk and then tried to teach while ‘slurring’ and ‘dishevelled’ has been banned from the classroom for six months.

Shirley Punt was head of English at Hugh Sexey School in Blackford when she drove in an ‘intoxicated’ state through an area used by parents, staff and children.

She then headed for the classroom, even though she was unable to walk straight, and began trying to teach her lesson.

This week, the General Teaching Council’s (GTC) professional conduct committee ruled she had been ‘guilty of unacceptable professional conduct’ and suspended her from the profession for six months.

Mrs Punt had already been sacked from her job at Hugh Sexey, where she had been head of department for three years prior to the incident.


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Philip Cole, chairman of the GTC panel, said: “On May 11, 2010, Mrs Punt attended the school when she was intoxicated.

“She drove onto the school grounds whilst under the influence of alcohol into an area used at that time of day by parents, staff and children.

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“Mrs Punt presented herself in the school building and a teaching room in an unfit state, slurring words, unable to walk straight and with a dishevelled appearance.

“We are satisfied that the facts amount to unacceptable professional conduct and Mrs Punt has admitted this.

“Her conduct fell short of the standards expected of a registered teacher and involved breaches of the standards of propriety expected of the profession.

“We view driving to school whilst intoxicated and presenting at school under the influence of alcohol as particularly serious.

“This conduct put pupils and others at risk, and certainly brings the profession into disrepute.”

He said the committee had taken into account references provided by Mrs Punt that demonstrated that she is ‘capable of being a competent teacher’, and that she had given evidence in private as to the reasons which led her to behave as she did.

Mr Cole added: “We have concluded that the appropriate and proportionate sanction to maintain public confidence in the profession is a suspension order for six months.

“During the six months Mrs Punt will be able to continue to make progress in coming to terms with the issues she has told us about.”

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