Teacher to face boozy party probe

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A FORMER Wigan teacher is being investigated by school watchdogs over claims she held booze-fuelled parties for pupils at her home.

Documents leaked to the Wigan Evening Post show that an investigating committee of the General Teaching Council will later this month decide whether Helen Pfau should face its disciplinary panel, whose ultimate sanction would be to ban her permanently from state school classrooms.

The allegations being discussed by the committee in Birmingham, on March 30, relate to the 59-year-old’s time as a media studies teacher at Standish High, and neighbour complaints about noisy late night parties involving teenagers at her home, in Foxglove Close, Standish. Police arrested her in June 2009, for hurling a tirade of foul-mouthed abuse at a neighbour and a police officer, and she was later given a conditional discharge after admitting a public order offence.

She was also arrested on suspicion of criminal damage, after paint was splashed over five cars and houses in the street, but those allegations were later dropped.

However, investigations within the education system have been continuing since the party claims.

Mrs Pfau left Standish High after 23 years’ service last May, and has moved home to Soughers Lane, in Bryn.

The notice of investigation shown to the Evening Post lists the allegations of “serious professional misconduct” against her.

The allegations include:

She offered children under 18 years, including Standish High pupils, alcohol and/or allowed them to drink alcohol in her home

Offered cigarettes to pupils and other under-18s and/or allowed them to smoke in her home

Asked a 16-year-old to buy alcohol and, on another occasion, invited the same teenager to sleep over;

Telephoned a pupil while drunk

Used abusive language in the street in front of children and towards a police officer – an offence for which she was given a fine (this was as well as the conditional discharge for the public order offence a week later).

Standish High’s new headteacher Lynne Fox declined to comment on the latest developments.

A spokesman for the GTC said the three-member committee’s job on March 30 would be to decide whether the allegations should be examined further by the council’s disciplinary hearing. A judgement on that would be likely on the day.

The panel has a range of sanctions it can impose, depending on the seriousness of matters in hand, which range from reprimands to re-training to the permanent striking off of a teacher from the GTC register which would prevent her from teaching in any English state school again.