A panel of the Teaching Regulation Agency (TRA) has found an independent school teacher breached Teachers’ Standards by giving a pupil gifts and engaging in inappropriate communication.
At a May 16 closed meeting the TRA panel found that Sibford School head of languages and modern foreign language teacher, Ms Dolores Celine Cecile Papin, engaged in and/or developed an inappropriate relationship with a pupil between 2017 and 2018.
This included giving the pupil gifts including a birthday gift in 2017, on more than one occasion. Papin admitted the facts of this allegation in the statement dated March 4, 2019.
The panel also had evidence collated by the school during its investigation. In an October 4, 2018 statement Ms Papin confirmed that, “I did give a birthday card, a book and a stress ball to the student in April 2017 for her birthday.”
Ms Papin further confirmed that she gave the pupil a cushion in November 2017 and a joke book in March 2018. The panel concluded this allegation proven.
Ms Papin was also accused of being alone with the pupil, a fact she admitted in the March 4 statement.
Evidence collated by the school during its investigation also backed this up as in the October 4 statement Ms Papin admitted that she walked around the school alone with the pupil in May 2018. The panel concluded this allegation proven
Ms Papin was also accused of engaging in inappropriate communication with the pupil, including by writing to her at her home address in or around July 11, 2017, giving her a letter written in or around November 2017 on more than one occasion
The teacher admitted the facts of this allegation in the March 4 statement. Evidence collated by the school included copies of correspondence sent by Ms Papin, both to the pupil's home address, and also, hand delivered to the pupil at the school.
The panel particularly noted that the tone and content of the correspondence was inappropriate, and included phrases such as, “I care too much about you to let you down and then I get carried away trying to help you…” and, “I have been trying to give you some space this week as I feel I tend to invade it too much.” The panel found this allegation proven.
In December 2017 Ms Papin was given a written warning in relation all three inappropriate interactions; specifically;
• You will avoid all communication with Pupil A via email or any other form of electronic medium,
• You will avoid situations where there is only you and Pupil A present,
• You will avoid being in the same area as Pupil A without good reason.
Ms Papin admitted that she did walk around the school alone with the pupil on several occasions in May 2018, after receiveing the official warning.
The TRA panel concluded that the conduct of Ms Papin, in relation to the facts found proven, involved breaches of the Teachers’ Standards and Ms Papin is in breach of the following standards:
• Teachers uphold public trust in the profession and maintain high standards of ethics and behaviour, within and outside school, by treating pupils with dignity, building relationships rooted in mutual respect, and at all times observing proper boundaries appropriate to a teacher’s professional position,
• Having regard for the need to safeguard pupils’ well-being, in accordance with statutory provisions,
• Teachers must have proper and professional regard for the ethos, policies and practices of the school in which they teach,
• Teachers must have an understanding of, and always act within, the statutory frameworks which set out their professional duties and responsibilities.
The panel noted that the teacher’s actions were deliberate, and persisted, despite a management instruction which was put in place to prevent further inappropriate contact with the pupil.
In conclusion the panel recommended that Ms Dolores Papin be prohibited from teaching indefinitely and cannot teach in any school, sixth form college, relevant youth accommodation or children’s home in England. She may apply for the prohibition order to be set aside, but not until May 17, 2021.
In a statement Sibford School said: "Dolores Papin was employed at Sibford School from 09/2006 to 07/2018.
"She was first subject to disciplinary proceedings in relation to a safeguarding concern involving a pupil in December 2017 where she was given a formal warning and offered support and guidance.
"When further safeguarding concerns involving the same pupil were identified later in 2018, Ms Papin was again subject to disciplinary proceedings leading to her dismissal from the School and a report being made to the Teaching Regulation Agency."
"Sibford School takes all safeguarding concerns very seriously and will always take appropriate steps to safeguard the welfare of our community."