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Misconduct panel bans former Southlands School teacher Jayne Geary from the profession indefinitely

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A FORMER teacher at a Lymington special school has been banned from the profession indefinitely after it was found she had “failed to maintain professional boundaries” with a pupil – including emailing them under a fake name of Tom Jones.

Jayne Geary joined Southlands School as an English teacher in 2015, but was suspended two years later over allegations she had ordered staff to leave her and the pupil alone together on multiple occasions and had made “inappropriate” comments to staff and pupils.

During the suspension, the student – referred to as Pupil A in a report by a professional conduct panel of the Teaching Regulation Agency – was seen entering Mrs Geary’s home, and she subsequently resigned.

Southlands is a specialist school for pupils on the autism spectrum
Southlands is a specialist school for pupils on the autism spectrum

At a recent hearing, a number of allegations made against Mrs Geary were proven, and it was ruled she had fallen “significantly short of the standards expected of the profession”.

In “sending staff away” in order to engineer time alone with Pupil A, Mrs Geary had “failed to maintain professional boundaries”, ruled the panel.

She was also said to have engaged in unprofessional behaviour by sending a number of emails containing negative and critical comments to colleagues and parents.

Pupil A’s relationships with staff members were said by his mother to have deteriorated whilst being taught by Mrs Geary.

He would make “negative comments about staff members, using phrases which he would not normally have used and that were reflective of comments made by Mrs Geary”, the panel report stated.

Mrs Geary also made derogatory remarks about teaching assistants, telling pupils that they “don’t make a scratch on what a teacher does”.

Colleagues said Mrs Geary frequently walked out of staff meetings and training sessions “without apology or explanation”.

However, the panel noted that in her written submissions, she stated that she “felt miserable walking into a meeting and being greeted with hostile looks”.

After being suspended in 2017 over these allegations, Mrs Geary supplied Pupil A with her home address and he was later seen entering her house.

The report stated: “The panel did not consider it appropriate for a teacher to provide a pupil with their home address or to allow a pupil to enter their home.

“A condition of Mrs Geary’s suspension was that she should not have contact with individuals in the school’s care.”

She also sent Pupil A an email from her private address using the pseudonym Tom Jones, giving feedback on his work.

She also sent an email to the student’s mother stating its purpose was to “let you know how devastated I am at the way you have treated me”.

The report said: “The panel considered this contact at a time when Mrs Geary was suspended from the school to be inappropriate and a failure to maintain professional boundaries.”

Mrs Geary had shown a “lack of insight and remorse” in relation to her actions and therefore a “prohibition order should be imposed with immediate effect”.

The earliest she can apply to have the order removed is July 2024, but the panel stressed that this was “not an automatic right”.

A spokesperson for the Cambian Group, which runs Southlands School, responded: “We must ensure that our young people are safeguarded at all times. We support the outcome of the recent hearing.”

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